Bible Baptist Church

" Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." ...... John 3:3


Being Not Weak In Faith


Romans 4


I.                    The necessity of Faith- v. 1-8

a.      Hebrews 11:6, 8-13

b.      We cannot be saved apart from faith! V. 5

c.       Generally, the Jewish teachers of Paul’s day believed that Abraham was justified by his works, by keeping the law. Ancient passages from the rabbis say: “We find that Abraham our father had performed the whole Law before it was given.”

d.      But there is no glorying or boasting before God

e.      We are guilty before God. We need to be justified!

f.        We cannot enter into God’s holiness in Heaven as sinners! We need to be made righteous. In fact, what we need is God’s righteousness (Rom. 3:23, II Cor. 5:21)

g.      This is the doctrine of imputation. Impute, count, reckon- the same word meaning charged to your account. This is found in several verses in this chapter alone

h.      Abraham is a prime example of this- Gen 15:1-6

i.        God put to Abraham’s account, placed on deposit for him, credited to him, righteousness... Abraham possessed righteousness in the same manner as a person would possess a sum of money placed in his account in a bank.

j.        V. 10- But how did this happen? Was he counted as righteous only after he was circumcised, or was it before he was circumcised? Clearly, God accepted Abraham before he was circumcised! (that came later in Gen. 17)

k.       Circumcision was a sign that Abraham already had faith

l.        Have you let God credit your account with Christ’s righteousness where sin’s penalty used to be? Accept Jesus’ payment for your sins!

m.    Christ paid a debt He didn’t owe to satisfy a debt we couldn’t pay.

n.      It is also clear that faith is not a work!

o.      Romans 4:5- Salvation is not try- but trust. It is not do- but done! Illustr- Evangelist George Needham visiting a wealthy and socially prominent man one night and asked, “Are you saved?” He replied, “No, but I am trying.” “For how long?” “For 12 years!” "Permit me to say that you have been very foolish."

p.      Taken back by the statement, the man asked Needham what he meant.

q.      Needham calmly explained, "You have been trying for so many years, yet you haven't succeeded. If I were you, I would give up trying and start trusting."

r.       We need faith for salvation, we also need faith for Christian living! The just shall walk by faith! We must continue making faith-based choices

s.       Why don’t we operate in faith? Maybe we have become to self-dependent. We minimize what God has called us to do thinking we can handle it (parenting, marriage, Christian living, etc.)

t.        Abraham recognized the impossible task before him, but he trusted in a God who makes all things possible

II.                  The object of Faith

a.      The main point of this text is to demonstrate Abraham as a father, a prototype, or an example of faith for all believers. But what did Abraham have faith in? The Promises of God

b.      Some people say it doesn’t matter what you have faith in it only matters how (zeal, passion, etc.) This is not true- the “whats” matter- the object of our faith!

c.       Works or the gospel? Word of God, traditions of men?

d.      We do not have just a blind faith.

e.      Faith is not wishful thinking--"I want a certain thing to happen, so I'm having faith that it will."

f.        Faith is not a gamble, it is not a mystical sixth sense, it is not superstition- it is believing a proposition.

                                                              i.      It believes in the God of the Bible

                                                            ii.      It believes the Bible is true

                                                          iii.      It is trusting in what God has said, because of who God is!

                                                           iv.      Faith comes from evidence that demands a verdict- i.e. the wind

                                                             v.      illustr- make a decision about something that you haven’t seen.

g.      Faith is believing a proposition, in this case a promise- v. 20

h.      God gave Abraham a promise, "So shall your descendants be." And Abraham believed what God said.

i.        This is why the devil so subtily asked Eve, “Hath God said?” If He can get us to doubt what God said then there are no grounds for faith!

j.        So the opposite of that is “Lord, you did say…!”

k.       Acts 27:25- Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.

l.        Illustr- weather this past week

m.    I’m not talking about name it and claim it- I’m talking about God’s will and God’s word-not our own- as the basis for our faith!

n.      Against the odds- against any reason for hope- Abraham continued to believe God!

o.      V. 19- Abraham, in faith, did not look to circumstances (his own body and the deadness of Sarah’s womb) but he looked at the promise of God.

p.      His faith did not stagger, or waver

q.      Abraham’s faith came because he had been fully convinced of God’s ability to perform what He had promised.

r.       Is your God too small? Abraham and Sarah had to learn there’s nothing too hard for God!

s.       Some people don’t come to Jesus or don’t go further with Him because they are not fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. They think, “It is fine for them but it won’t work for me.”

t.        One night a house caught fire and a young boy was forced to flee to the roof. The father stood on the ground below with outstretched arms, calling to his son, "Jump! I'll catch you." He knew the boy had to jump to save his life. All the boy could see, however, was flame, smoke, and blackness. As can be imagined, he was afraid to leave the roof. His father kept yelling: "Jump! I will catch you." But the boy protested, "Daddy, I can't see you." The father replied, "But I can see you and that's all that matters."

III.                The outcome of Faith

a.      What makes Abraham’s faith so exemplary? God called Abram to leave his homeland, friends, and family and move to a foreign land. He promised to bless Abram's posterity and honor him among nations (Genesis 12). We can only imagine receiving this call upon our lives at 75 years old! But without hesitation, “Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him” (v. 4).

b.      By Genesis 15, ten years had passed since Abram and Sarai first obeyed the Lord's demanding call. They still had no child, and Sarai was barren. In response to God's comforting words, Abram asked hard questions about His promises (Gen 15:1-3). God replied with reassurance and a sign (Ge 15:4-5). Once again, without wavering, Abram believed God (v. 6). Abraham and Sarah waited 15 more years before bearing the promised son, Isaac (Gen. 21:1-7). Trusting God is never an easy journey

c.       V. 19- Isaac was born when Abraham was 100 and Sarah 90 (17:17), when their bodies were “as good as dead” reproductively (Rom. 4:19). Abraham believed in the Lord (Rom. 4:17), “fully persuaded that what He had promised He was also able to perform” (Rom. 4:21).

d.      Illustr seeing with eyes of faith- the flowers and trees in winter time may appear to be dead- but the warmth and light of Springtime causes those trees and flowers to bloom bountifully once again!

e.      Maybe your relationships in the home are dying, your spiritual walk, your heart for God is on life support- become fully convinced in God’s ability to bring life and vitality where there was none before!

f.        Maybe our service for God has been deficient- trust in the promise of the Holy Spirit to enable you!

g.      Abraham saw God’s life-giving promises come to pass!

h.      Abraham’s faith did not mean that he did nothing and just waited for God

i.        This shows us that faith does not mean doing nothing, but doing everything with trust and reliance on God.

j.        “All true believers, like Abraham, obey. Obedience is faith in action. You are to walk in the steps of the faith of father Abraham. His faith did not sit still, it took steps; and you must take these steps also by obeying God because you believe him. That faith which has no works with it is a dead faith, and will justify no one.” (Spurgeon)

k.       When we lack faith- it shows in our lack of obedience- illustr- poor student

l.        This is why I believe many Christians do not serve the Lord as they should!

m.    Examples: call to preach, witnessing, giving, get rid of that sinful habit/besetting sin

n.      We need to have reservoirs full of hope and faith so that we continue obeying God!

o.      We need our gas tanks filled with faith. And we want to fill up with premium!

p.      The character of Abraham’s faith- not weak- it was strengthened

q.      “Little faith will bring your soul to Heaven, great faith will bring Heaven down to your soul!”- Spurgeon

r.       How can we increase/strengthen our faith?

                                                              i.      First, is our knowledge of God. The main explanation of the troubles and difficulties that most Christians experience in their lives is due to a lack of knowledge about God. We need to study the revelation that God has given of Himself and of His character. That is how to develop strong faith. The more you know God, the more you will trust Him. (Romans 10:13)

                                                            ii.      Martin Luther said to Erasmus, "Your thoughts of God are too human." I think that is true of most Christians:

                                                          iii.      The second way is by applying our faith to obedience. A faith that never ventures off the ship when the Lord bids us come will never be a strong faith!

                                                           iv.      Faith is like a muscle that must be exercised! It also grows as we endure trials.

 

Conclusion:

·         Paul had to contend with Jews who thought they were saved by circumcision. Today we often meet nominal Christians who think they are going to heaven because they were baptized.

·         But circumcision was only an outward sign or symbol, both to Abraham and to the world about him. It signified that Abraham was separated from the world unto God.

·         Our eyes help us substantiate the physical world, faith helps us substantiate the spiritual realm. Believing without seeing. Faith is about the object!

·         God our Father has made all things depend on faith so that whoever has faith will have everything, and whoever does not have faith will have nothing- Martin Luther.

·         May we believe God for those specific steps that He wants us to take!