The Great Test of Faith

TEXTGen. 15:1-6;  22:2;  Heb. 1:17-18

INTRODUCTION:

A.      A DRAMATIC AND TOUCHING STORY - INSPIRING.

B.      INVOLVES A GREAT TEST OF FAITH.

C.      WE CAN LEARN.

I.      DEFINITIONS:

A.      TEST:  "a measure of trial;  specifically, subjection to conditions that show the real   character of a person or thing in a certain particular."

B.      FAITH:  "confidence and conviction based on dependable and reliable testimony."

C.      TESTS OF FAITH:  "devices of deity by which man's devotion to God is gauged

          and determined."

D.      MORAL COMMANDS:  "that which is right in itself;  matters which commend

          themselves to all good people as right in the nature of things.

E.      POSITIVE COMMANDS:  "signifies a type of command that is peremptory,

          arbitrary and absolute originating in the will of God and right because of the

          authority which promulgates it."

          1.       Commands in which we are unable to see any connection between that which

                   is required and the blessing which is dependent thereon, i.e. Naaman.

          2.       Commands not only apparently unrelated to the blessing promised but are of

                   such a nature that the duties imposed are contrary to the natural

                   feelings, distasteful and obnoxious, ie. Jonah.

          3.       Commands in which that which God requires is not only wholly unrelated to

                   the blessing promised; commands that involve participation in matters that

                   are to some degree objectionable and distasteful;  but also commands that

                   necessitate the doing of things which, but for the fact that God commanded

                   them would be positively wrong, ie. Abraham.

II.     IN ORDER TO KEEP HIS PROMISE OF Gen. 12:1-3

        IT WAS NECESSARY:

A.      TO GIVE ABRAHAM NUMEROUS POSTERITY( Gen. 15:6 ).

B.      TO KEEP THEM SEPARATE FROM OTHER PEOPLE( Eph. 2:11-12 ).

C.      TO GIVE THEM A LAND IN WHICH TO DEVELOP( Gen. 15:8 ).

D.      FOR THEM TO HAVE A LAW - MOSES( Ex. 19:5-6;  24:6-8 ).

E.      MOST IMPORTANT - NECESSARY TO HAVE A SON!( Gen. 15:4-6; 21:12 ).

III.    ABRAHAM'S FAITH IS TESTED( Gen. 22:1-2 ).

A.      ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD - FAITH PERFECTED IN ITS EXPRESSION OF

          WORKS( James 2:20-23 ).

B.      OBEDIENCE WAS PROMPT( Gen. 22:3;  Psa. 119:60 ). NO DOUBT.

C.      THE EXTENT OF ABRAHAM'S FAITH( Gen. 22:4-5 ).

          1.       By faith Abraham offered Isaac( Heb. 11:17-19 ).

                   a.       His only begotten son( vs. 17 ). Compare John 3:16.

                   b.       The one of promise( Gen. 22:15-16; 21:12 ).

                   c.       Abraham believed God could raise Isaac( Heb. 11:19 ).

          2.       By faith Abraham did what God told him to do.

                   a.       Faith comes by hearing( Rom. 10:17 ).

                   b.       Faith alone cannot stand( James 2:20-24 ).

                   c.       Even though command and promise seem incompatible.

CONCLUSIONHOW DOES YOUR FAITH MEASURE?