A Systematic Expository Study of the Word of God
PATTERN OF THE LIFE OF FAITH
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Without faith, it is impossible to
please God (Hebrews 11:6). To please God, each of us must live by faith in
Christ. Abel, Enoch, Noah had faith in God and He testified of them that
they pleased Him. In Abel, we learn the commencement of the life of faith;
Enoch teaches us the characteristics of the continuity of the life of faith;
Noah’s life and action instruct us on the conviction and courage of the life
of faith. The Scripture challenges us to let “Christ dwell in
[our] hearts by faith” (Ephesians 3:17), to “live
by faith” (Galatians 2:20), to pray in faith (James 1:6), to resist
our adversary, the devil, by faith (1 Peter 5:8,9), to overcome the world by
faith (1 John 5:4), to “walk by faith” (2 Corinthians 5:7).
To please God and to walk with Him, we
are to “walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which
he had being yet uncircumcised” (Romans 4:12). Abraham’s life of
faith provides a pattern for our faith. His life was nothing else, but a
continual practice of faith. The first evidence of faith in his life is his
obedience to God, when He called him out of his country. From then on, his
life furnishes fuller details concerning the life of faith.
THE PILGRIMAGE OF FAITH
Hebrews 11:8; Genesis 12:1-4; Joshua 24:2-3; Acts 7:2-4; Isaiah 51:2; Romans
1:5; Luke 5:32; 1 Thessalonians 4:7; Acts 13:2; 2 Peter 1:10.
“By faith, Abraham,
when he was called to go out... obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither
(Hebrews 11:8). “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” (Genesis 12:1). What a challenge to his faith this
was! He was called to go out of idolatry, not out of the family of God
(Joshua 24:2,3; Isaiah 51:1,2). What a testing of faith this was – to be
converted at 75! Abraham was already seventy-five years of age (Genesis
12:4) and long journeys and break-up of old associations are not easily
undertaken by elderly people. To forsake the old life, to leave loved ones
and family idolatry behind, to abandon present certainty for a future
uncertainty, to go forth, not knowing where, must have seemed unreasonable
to the flesh and carnal reasoning; only faith could do such a thing in
answer to God’s call.
A practical separation from the world
is demanded of us, for “the friendship of the world is enmity with God”
(James 4:4). As it was contrary to nature for Abraham to leave family
and idolatry, so it is equally contrary to nature for the Christian to
separate from the world and crucify the flesh. Abraham “obeyed; and he
went out”. He obeyed not only in word, but in deed. “By faith,
Abraham... obeyed” (Hebrews 11:8). Faith and obedience can never be
separated just as the sun and light or fire and heat can never be separated.
“He went out, not
knowing whither he went”.
At the time God called him, He did not specify which land he was to journey
to, nor where it was located. It was by faith, real faith in the Living God,
and not by sight, that he moved forward. Many so-called Christians only obey
God after considering their own personal interests. God requires unqualified
obedience from us. The path of obedience must be trod, if ever you are to
reach heaven. No disobedient soul who is wrapped up in self will enter
THE PROOF AND PATIENCE OF FAITH
Hebrews 11:9-10; Genesis 13:12,14-18; 17:8; 26:2-5; Acts 7:5; Hebrews 11:10;
12:28; 13:14; John 14:2.
“By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country...”
(Hebrews 11:9). This verse brings before us the second proof of Abraham’s
faith. In the previous verse, we are told of the place he left; here we are
told of the place to which he was called. We learn from him the necessity of
patience and constancy of faith in waiting for the fulfillment of the
promise. As it was by faith that Abraham went out of Chaldaea, so it was by
faith he remained out of his native idolatrous country. We come out of the
world to come into Christ’s Kingdom by faith and remain separated from the
world through faith.
Unless a supernatural work of grace had been wrought in Abraham’s heart,
subduing his natural reasoning, he would not have remained in Canaan. He
stayed there, “as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles”,
patiently waiting for the inheritance. The Christian also has been begotten
“to an inheritance” (1 Peter 1:4), but he does not fully
enter into it (into heaven) the moment he is called “from death unto
life”. He, too, waits patiently for that “inheritance
reserved in heaven”.
“For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose Builder and Maker
(Hebrews 11:10). Walking by faith, not by sight, he set his heart and eyes
upon things above and not upon things below. Faith lifts the heart above and
beyond earthly things to desire spiritual and heavenly things.
THE POWER OF FAITH
Hebrews 11:11-12; Romans 4:19-21; Hebrews 10:23; Genesis 22:17; Deuteronomy
1:10; Nehemiah 9:23; Acts 10:43; 26:18; Hebrews 10:35-37.
Having spoken of Abraham’s faith, the
apostle now makes mention of Sarah’s faith. What a great blessing it is when
a husband and wife are both partners and partakers of living, dynamic faith
– both moving in the same direction in faith. The believing husband and the
believing wife are “heirs together of the grace of life” (1
Peter 3:7). Sarah’s faith shows the marvelous power of a God-given faith
exercised in the presence of the most discouraging circumstances. Her faith
was intensely practical, relying upon the faithfulness of God, absolutely
and completely resting upon His promise. Her faith survived every trial to
which it was exposed.
“Through faith also Sara herself
received strength to
(Hebrews 11:11). It is through FAITH that we receive Christ
(John 1:12), “gladly receive the Word” (Acts 2:41;
8:14), “receive remission of sins” (Acts 10:43), “receive
the Word of God, not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the Word of
God” (1 Thessalonians 2:13), “receive abundance of grace and
of the gift of righteousness” (Romans 5:17), “receive
inheritance among them which are sanctified” (Acts 26:18), “receive
answers to prayer” (Mark 11:24), “receive the power and gift of the Holy
Ghost” (Acts 1:8; 2:38,39), “receive the promise” (Hebrews
10:36), “receive of His fullness” (John 1:16).
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