FULLY PERSUADED FAITH
1. As Christians, we are to walk in the same kind of faith as Abraham. Rom 4:11,12
2. As Christians, we are told to follow those (including Abraham) who through faith and patience inherit the promises. Heb 6:12;15
a. Notice three key facts in this verse:
1. God makes promises (clear from context).
2. These promises are inherited through faith and patience.
3. We are told to follow the example of people who successfully inherit God's promises.
b. Understanding these key points is essential if you want to live / walk by faith. Rom 1:17; II Cor 5:7
3. In this lesson, we want to examine each of the key points in this verse as we continue our study of faith.
B. Let's first consider some facts about God's promises.
1. What is a promise?
a. A statement assuring someone that the person making the statement will do or not do something: a pledge. (Webster)
b. Promise = EPAGGELIA = an announcement (for information, pledge, or assent, esp a divine assurance of good).
2. There are two aspects to a promise:
a. The promise given, offered, made = a person states his intentions.
b. The promise fulfilled = the person carries out what he said he would do.
3. God works through His Word.
a. He releases His power when He speaks. Gen 1; Ps 107:20; Matt 8:16; Mark 4:39; Mark 11:14; I Thess 2:13; Heb 1:3; I Pet 1:23
b. God makes promises and then fulfills them when He gets the right cooperation.
1. God promised Abraham and his descendants the land of Canaan = promise offered.
2. Yet, in order to actually possess the land:
a. Abraham had to move, get up and go to it.
b. His descendants had to physically enter it, possess it, and hold on to it.
c. When they did their part, God did His (drove their enemies out, protected them, met their physical needs) = promise fulfilled.
c. Heb 6:12 speaks of Abraham inheriting the promises.
1. To inherit means to come into possession of; to receive.
2. Note these translations:
a. Have taken possession of the promised inheritance (Wand)
b. Came to possess the promises (Phillips) c. Those who receive all God has promised because of their strong faith and patience (Living)
3. In other words, Abraham had to do some things in order to have God's promise fulfilled.
d. The cooperation God is looking for to fulfill His promise is faith = agreement with what He has said which is then expressed through words and actions.
4. The starting point of faith, for faith is: what has God promised?
a. If we know what God has already said He will do, wants to do, then we can get into agreement with Him.
b. Once we are in agreement with Him, God can fulfill His promises in our lives.
5. What promises has God made to us?
a. There are several ways to come at this.
b. Various authors say there are between 7,000 and 32,000 specific promises mentioned in the Bible.
c. But, we want to look briefly at the complete NT revelation of God's promises -- Jesus.
C. God has spoken to us (made promise to us) in these last days by His Son, Jesus. Heb 1:1,2
1. In one sense, God has already done for us all that He is going to do through the Cross of Jesus Christ.
a. We think in terms of getting God to do something for us, but it is actually a question of receiving what has already been provided for us through Jesus.
b. God has already provided us with all we need to live this life and the next through the Cross of Jesus.
1. Salvation is an all - inclusive word.
2. SOTERIA = implies deliverance, preservation, healing, wholeness, soundness.
c. Eph 1:3
1. For giving us through Christ every possible spiritual benefit as citizens of heaven. (Phillips)
2. Who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing that heaven itself enjoy. (Norlie)
3. Who has Himself blessed us through Christ with every kind of spiritual and supernatural blessing. (Wand)
d. II Pet 1:3
1. Of everything that promotes life and piety (Wand)
2. He has by his own action given us everything that is necessary for living the truly good life. (Phillips)
3. His divine power has given us everything we need for our physical and spiritual life. (Norlie)
e. Here is a partial list of what God has provided through Jesus, has already said yes to through Jesus:
1. Righteousness; right standing with Himself (sonship)
2. Remission of sins
3. A plan and purpose for each of our lives
4. His promise to lead and guide us
5. Physical needs met
6. Healing for the body and soul
7. Access to all the grace, peace, joy, and strength we'll ever need.
2. We must understand two key facts about what Jesus did while on earth.
a. Through the Cross, He removed / broke the curse /consequence of sin over us and our lives so that God's blessings can come on us. Gal 3:13,14
b. He was the will of God in action = He shows us God's will. John 14:9
3. Jesus is the yes pronounced on every one of God' promises. II Cor 1:20
a. Christ says yes to all of God's promises. (Cont Eng)
b. And however many promises God made, the yes to them all is in Him. (Jerusalem)
c. But with Him it is always "yes", for, as many as the promises of God may be, through Him they are always "yes". (Williams)
d. Every promise of God finds its affirmative in Him. (Phillips)
4. Jesus reveals God's promises to us.
a. Everything that Jesus did, said, provided for us through the Cross is a promise from God to us.
b. God now wants to fulfill those promises (bring them to pass) in our lives.
5. It is now up to us to receive what God has provided through Jesus by accepting His Word, His promise, so that He can fulfill it, bring it to pass in our lives.
a. God's promises do not automatically come to pass in peoples' lives.
b. In the very same letter where we are encouraged to follow the faith of Abraham, we are warned not to follow the example of one generation Israel in particular.
c. The generation that came out of Egypt to the edge of the promised land under Moses did not receive God's promise because they did not agree with it. Heb 3:19; 4:1,2
D. We are told to follow Abraham's example of faith (and others who receive God's promises). Heb 6:12
1. A follower = MIMETES = an imitator
a. We are to imitate Abraham's faith, his response to God's Word.
b. There are a number of points about Abraham's faith we have discussed, and other aspects still to discuss, but we want to focus on one point mentioned in Romans 4.
2. Rom 4:21 -- Abraham was fully persuaded that what God had promised He would do.
a. Fully satisfied and assured that God was able and mighty to keep His word and to do what He had promised. (Amp)
b. He was confident that God, who gives life to the dead and calls creation into being, would fulfill the promise he had made. (Johnson)
1. PLEROPHOREO = completely assure (or convince); most surely believe; fully known.
2. To win over to a belief.
3. Note these points:
a. In the last lesson, we saw that as God repeated His promise to Abraham over and over, Abraham became completely convinced.
b. Abraham believed that what God had promised (past) would come to pass (future), and in between time (present), Abraham was fully persuaded.
4. That's how faith works:
a. First you have God's promise (before you see any results).
b. But, having His promise is as good as having results, because His promise will produce results.
c. If you will agree with that promise in the way you talk and act, sooner or later, God will bring it to pass in the realm where you can see it.
5. Faith boils down to this -- do you believe God will keep His Word?
E. The number one reason for weak and ineffective faith among Christians is that they are not fully persuaded.
1. At the root of that is lack of knowledge.
a. If you do not know God's will, God's promise in an area, you cannot be fully persuaded that He will fulfill it.
b. If you do not know how God works (sends His Word and then fulfills it where He gets cooperation), you cannot be fully persuaded.
c. If you do not know that there is usually a passage of time between when the promise is given and accepted by you, and when you actually see results, you will waver in your faith.
d. If you need any other evidence besides God's Word that a thing is so, you will not stand until faith turns to sight.
2. At the heart of faith is confidence. Heb 11:1
a. Now faith means that we are confident of what we hope for, convinced of what we do not see. (Moffatt)
b. Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things we hope for, being the proof of things we do not see and the conviction of their reality -- faith perceiving as real fact what is not yet revealed to the senses.
3. I John 5:14,15 -- We can approach God with confidence for this reason. If we make requests which accord with His will, He listens to us; and if we know that our requests are heard, we know the things that we ask for are ours. (NEB)
4. Often, Christians have an idea what God's will is, but don't take the time to become fully convinced and when trouble hits, they waver.
a. The only evidence Abraham had for many years that he would be a father was God's Word.
b. And, he had constant physical evidence that said "no way"!
5. James l:5-8 talks about faith and wavering.
a. Neither one is an emotion; both are a stand on or an attitude toward the Word of God.
b. Double minded = half - hearted; in two minds; wavering between going two different ways; a man of two minds -- hesitating, doubting, irresolute.
c. He is not fully convinced that God will come through because:
1. He doesn't know God's will in the situation.
2. He doesn't know how God works (through His Word).
d. The result? He will not inherit God's promises.
1. We are called to walk in the faith of Abraham.
a. Abraham was fully persuaded that what God had promised, He would do.
b. We must be fully persuaded as well.
2. Find out what God has promised.
a. School yourself in faith (it comes by hearing the Word of God. Rom 10:17).
b. Rom 4;20,21 -- He shewed no hesitation or doubt at God's promise, but drew strength from his faith, confessing God's power, fully convinced that God was able to perform what He had promised. (Knox)
c. As Abraham walked, he talked! He convinced himself that God would do it!
3. Abraham had a promise from God which was completely contradicted by sight and reason.
a. He believed God's Word, but much time passed between when he believed (accepted God's Word) and he saw the results.
b. He just kept walking, living, praising God for His faithfulness.
c. You and I can do that, too!
4. Find out God's will.
a. Live in agreement with it.
b. Speak in agreement with it.
5. A man of faith says: Because God has promised it, He will do it, and right now, I am fully convinced that I'll see results -- it's as good as done! And, in the meantime, I'll just keep walking!