By Faith Abraham

Posted by on Dec 16, 2007

By Pastor Mike Withem

First Baptist Church of Ranson, WV

December 16, 2007

Sunday Morning

“By Faith Abraham”


Scripture Text: Hebrews 11:8-19



A.   If you were to ask me to name the one person in the Bible who, in my opinion, best demonstrates what it means to walk by faith, I would have to say, “Abraham.”

1. One of the reasons that I say this is because of what we read in Gal. 3:7-9, “Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham….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….So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.”

2. Notice that in this passage, Paul refers to Abraham as “faithful Abraham.”

3. Paul put it like this in Rom. 4:16, “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.”

4. And so, the Word of God itself describes Abraham as a man of faith, calling him both “faithful Abraham,” as well as the “father of” the faithful.


B.   Another reason why I believe that Abraham is the one man who best demonstrates what it means to walk by faith is because of the impossible things that, by faith, he was able to accomplish in his life!

1. Jesus said in Mark 9:23, “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.

2. Even though Abraham lived a long time before Jesus uttered these words, Abraham demonstrated the truth of these words in the life that he lived, as well as the impossible things that he accomplished.

3. Now this raises a question.

4. What impossible things did Abraham accomplish?

5. Well, first of all, Abraham…


I.       Answered An Impossible Call.


A.   Notice again Vrs. 8 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.”


B.   Why do I refer to Abraham’s call as an “impossible” call?

1. Well, consider, first of all, Abraham’s background.

2. Abraham was born into and raised in a pagan family.

3. His father was an idol worshiper.

4. His mother was an idol worshiper.

5. His brothers were idol worshipers.

6. Up until the time that God spoke to him and called him, Abraham had absolutely no knowledge of God, and certainly had no relationship with God.

7. (Illus.- When God called me to preach, I had already been saved. I already knew Christ as my Savior. I already had a relationship with God.)

8. However, this was not true of Abraham.

9. One day Abraham was just minding his own business, when all of a sudden a God whom he had never heard about and had never known spoke to him and said, “Abraham, this is what I want you to do.”

10.   Can you imagine that?


C.   Also, consider what God called Abraham to do.

1. He said, “Abraham, I want you to leave your home. I want you to leave your family. I want you to leave everything that is familiar to you and go to a land that I will show you later.”

2. Can you imagine what must have gone through Abraham’s mind at that time?

3. Here was a God whom he had never heard about, a God whom he had never known, commanding him to leave everyone and everything that was familiar to him, and journey to some unknown land that he had never seen.

4. Talk about an impossible call!


D.   (Illus.- Let me illustrate it like this. Suppose God were to speak to you the way that He spoke to Abraham, and suppose He were to tell you to resign your job, sell your home, put all your belongings in a U-Haul truck, tell all your family and friends goodbye, and just start driving down the road, with the promise that eventually He will tell you where to go. How would you respond?)


E.   How did Abraham respond to this impossible call?

1. Notice again Vrs. 8 our text, it says that he “…obeyed; and went out, not knowing whither he went.”

2. Not only did Abraham obey (answer God’s call), but it appears as though he did no immediately and without question.

3. As one Bible commentator put it, “One moment Abraham was a pagan idol worshiper, no different from his fellow citizens of Ur, and the next moment he was a believing man, with his back toward his old way of life and his face toward the promised land. There was no vacillating, no seesawing back and forth.”

4. How could Abraham respond in that way to an impossible call? (The answer is, “Faith!”)

5. Notice again how Vrs. 8 of our text begins, it says, “By faith Abraham…”


F.    Not only did Abraham begin his journey by faith, but he continued his journey by faith.

1. Notice again Vrs. 9 of our text, “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.”

2. But someone asks, “What kept Abraham in that ‘strange country’? What kept him from going back to the land of his birth? What kept him from returning to the familiarity of his family and friends?”

3. Well, it wasn’t the promise land!

4. The promise land was, indeed, a wonderful land, however, it wasn’t the promise land that kept Abraham from going home.

5. The fact is, Abraham was looking for something far better than the land of Canaan.

6. Notice again Vrs. 10 of our text, “For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”

7. Jump ahead to Vrs. 13-16 of our text, “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….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, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.”

8. What city was Abraham looking for? (I believe he was looking for the New Jerusalem!)


G.   You know, just like Abraham, we have this same promise to look forward to!

1. Listen as I read Rev. 21:1-4, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea….And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband….And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God….And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”

2. And so, by faith, Abraham answered an impossible call.


H.   But that’s not all. Notice, also, that, by faith, Abraham…


II.      Overcame An Impossible Condition.


A.   When God called Abraham, He promised to make of him “a great nation.”

1. However, there was a problem.

2. Sarah, Abraham’s wife, was barren.

3. Gen. 11:30 says, “But Sarai was barren; she had no child.”

4. That was when Abraham answered God’s call.

5. He was 75 years old, and Sarah was 65 years old.

6. Twenty five years later, they still do not have a son, and now both Sarah and Abraham are so old that, physically speaking, it was impossible for them to have a child.

7. But listen to what Jesus said in Mark 10:27, “With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.”

8. Abraham and Sarah believed that, even though there were times when their faith wavered a bit.


B.   Notice again Vrs. 11-12 of our text, “Through faith also Sara 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….Therefore sprang there even of 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 sea shore innumerable.”

1. Paul put it like this in Rom. 4:18-19, “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.”

2. Because of Abraham’s faith, God gave him a son, Isaac.

3. Because of Abraham’s faith, God gave Isaac a son, Jacob,

4. Because of Abrahams faith, God gave Jacob twelves sons, who became the heads of the twelve tribes of Israel.

5. Every Jew who has ever been born, or ever will be born, is the result of Abraham’s faith.

6. Such is the power of faith!


C.   God’s Word is full of promises that God has made to us.

1. For example, God has promised that if we will put Him first in our lives, He will meet all our needs. (Mat. 6:33)

2. Let me ask you a question, “If God was able to keep His promise to Abraham and give him a son, considering the fact that it was physically impossible, don’t you think that God can keep His promises to us as well?

3. The answer, of course, is, “Yes!”

4. One Bible commentator put it like this: “What a God we have! What faith can do when it links dead, barren humanity to Him! It is like the hidden wire that runs through the wall of a house, linking the outlet to the powerhouse. Faith reaches up to God and conveys all the immense resources of Deity to the source of need in human lives.”

5. And so, by faith, Abraham overcame an impossible condition.


D.   But that’s not all, notice finally, that by faith Abraham…


III.    Obeyed An Impossible Command.

A.   What did God command Abraham to do?

1. The command is found in Gen. 22:1-2, “And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am….And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.”

2. I’m sure that we would all agree that Isaac was probably the most precious possession that Abraham had at that point in his life.

3. He had waited so long for him.

4. Now God tells him to take Isaac to the top of a mountain and offer him as a burnt offering.

5. Talk about an impossible command.!


B.   (Illus.- Suppose you only had one son, and suppose God were to tell you to offer your son as a burnt offering to Him. How would you respond to that command?)


C.   How did Abraham respond?

1. Notice again Vrs. 17-18 of our text, “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.”

2. If you read the account of this in Gen. 22, you will see that Abraham obeyed God without even hesitating.

3. Of course, God did not allow him to actually kill his son, but Abraham was fully prepared to do just that.

4. In fact, Abraham already had the knife in hand when God spoke to him and said, “Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.” (Gen. 22:12)


D.   Now someone asks the question, “How could Abraham do that? How could he take the life of his son?”

1. The answer is found in Vrs. 19 of our text, “Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.”

2. In other words, Abraham was prepared to take the life of his son because of his faith, because he believed that God would raise him from the dead.

3. Why was he convinced that God would raise him from the dead?

4. Because of the promise that God had made to Abraham many years earlier, the promise to make of him “a great nation,” and the assurance that God had given him that “in Isaac” (not Ishmael) his “seed” would “be called.” (Vrs. 18)


E.   There is another lesson to be learned here.

1. Just like Abraham was willing to give his most precious possession to God, we should be willing to do likewise, whatever that possession might be.

2. (Illus.- It is said that when the great English preacher, John Bunyan, was in jail for preaching the gospel, he was deeply concerned about his family. He was particularly grieved about his little blind daughter, for whom he had a special love. Listen to what he wrote, apparently from the prison cell where he was being held, “I saw in this condition I was a man who was pulling down his house upon the head of his wife and children. Yet, thought I, I must do it; I must do it. The dearest idol I have known, what err that idol be, help me to tear it from thy throne and worship only Thee.”)



A.   Why do I believe that Abraham is the one Bible character who best demonstrates what it means to walk by faith?

1. I believe that because of the impossible things that he was able, by faith, to accomplish in his life.

2. Because of the impossible call that he was able to answer (the call to leave everyone and everything that was familiar to him and follow God).

3. Because of the impossible condition that he was able to overcome (the condition of infertility, on his part as well as Sarah’s part).

4. Because of the impossible command that he was able to obey (the command to offer his only son as a burnt offering to God).


B.   May I ask you a few questions, this morning?

1. Would you be willing to answer God’s call, no matter where it might take you?

2. Would you be willing to overcome any condition, in order to realize God’s will for you life?

3. Would you be willing to obey God’s command, no matter what you might have to sacrifice to do so?

4. We can answer yes to these questions, only if we have the kind of faith that Abraham had!

5. Do you have that kind of faith?


C.   Are you saved???