The school of faith may be a wonderful school, but sometimes we don’t make very good students. In the school of faith, our classroom is Life. The Bible is our textbook. Our faculty the prophets and apostles. But the dean of the school of faith would have to be Abraham.
Turn to Romans 4:2-3 and fill in two key words.
2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham _______________ God, and it was accounted to him for ___________________________.”
Further down in verse 11, Abraham is called “the ______________ of all them that believe.”
Abraham led the way by his example. From him we can learn some incredible lessons about faith. Faith is of monumental, inestimable importance.
1. Faith is the distinguishing mark of the Christian.
Did you know that Christians were called “believers” before they were ever called Christians? “Believers”—that is the distinguishing mark of a Christian: that he or she is a believer.
2. To exercise faith is our chief duty.
Turn to John 6:29.
a. Who is speaking?
b. What is “the work of God” in your life?
Believing God—taking Him at His word—is our chief duty. Therefore,
3. Unbelief (the opposite of faith) is the supreme evil.
There is no greater evil than unbelief. “How can it be,” you ask, “that unbelief is the greatest evil? Wouldn’t murder, to name just one, be much worse?” Before we go any further, let’s see if this is right.
How did humanity fall into sin to begin with?
When all mankind fell as a race in Genesis chapter 3, it began with unbelief. This is why unbelief is so costly! Actually, it is deadly.
a. Turn to 1 Corinthians 15:21-22:
21 For since by man came ______________, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
22 For as in Adam all die, even so in __________ shall all be made __________.
b. The man by whom death came was ________________
c. The man by whom salvation came was ______________________.
All the sins man has committed since that time trace their roots back to that deadliest sin of all, unbelief.
A CLOSER LOOK AT A DEADLY MISTAKE
What started this deadly progression was that Eve did not believe God. She fell into sin because of unbelief. People today don’t go to hell today because they steal, lie, or commit adultery, for those sins have been paid for with the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Most people have it exactly backward. Ask any person on the street who is not a Christian how they are going to be admitted into Heaven. They will answer that they think/hope their good deeds will, by the time they die, outweigh their bad deeds. Those bad deeds—if they reach some nebulous tipping point, will send them to hell. (Not them, of course—some other poor hapless person.)
The Bible says to the contrary.
d. Turn to John 3:18:
“He that _______________ on Him is ______ condemned, but he that _____________ not is condemned already because he hath _____ _____________.”
Think about it. The reason men and women go to hell today is they have not believed on the Lord Jesus Christ.
4. Faith is the way you are going to live the Christian life.
Once you believe in Jesus Christ, how will you carry it out? By trying? No. By trusting. The Christian life is lived by faith.
Four times the Bible says “the just shall live by faith.”
a. Turn to Habakkuk 2:4 “Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the ________ shall live by his ___________.
b. Romans 1:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The _______ shall live by __________.
c. Galatians 3:11 But that ______ man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The ______ shall live by _________.
d. Hebrews 10:38. 38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
Four times God says it. Do you think He is trying to tell us something? The only way to live the Christian life genuinely is by faith.
5. Faith is the way your Christian life will either flourish or falter.
Your Christian life will be measured by your faith.
Turn to Matthew 9:29. “According to your _________, be it unto you.” Not according to your feeling, your fame, your fortune, your friends, your fate, but according to your faith be it unto you.
6. Faith, above all things, pleases God.
If you please God, it doesn’t matter whom you displease, and if you displease God it doesn’t matter whom you please.
And how will you please God?
Turn to Hebrews 11:6 (the chapter known as “The Faith Chapter).
“But without ___________it is ________________ to ________________ _______.” It doesn’t say “hardly possible.” It is _________________ to please Him, “for he that cometh to God must _______________ that He is, and that He is a rewarder of ______ that diligently seek Him.”
7. Faith is the only way to overcome the world.
Turn to 1 John 5:4. “And this is the ______________ that ____________________ the world, even our __________.” When we greet one another here in church, rather than saying” How you feeling,” we ought to say, “How are you faith-ing? We live by faith.
1. Faith’s Root is NOT Human Will
a. Turn again to Genesis 12:1
“Now the _______ had said unto Abram, “Get thee out of thy country and from thy kindred and from thy father’s house into a land that I will show thee.”
The basis of Abraham’s faith is that God had spoken to him! In your Bible you may want to underscore “Now the Lord had said…”
Many people misunderstand faith and the source of faith. Faith is not rooted in human will.
b. Turn back just a page to Genesis chapter 11—the building of the Tower of Babel. Notice how it describes what happened. Count how many times you see the people talking among themselves and using the word “us.” Underscore each “us.”
“And the whole earth was of one language and of one speech and it came to pass as they journeyed from the east that they found a plain in the land of Shinar and they dwelt there, and they said one to another, Go to let us make brick and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone and slime had they for mortar and they said, Go to let us build us a city and a tower whose top may reach unto heaven and let us make us a name.”
This is man’s will, man’s attempt to establish his own kingdom through his own will.
c. Now, return to chapter 12 where God is speaking. Read 12:1-3 and verse 7. Notice the difference.
Who is saying “I will.”?
d. In vv. 1-3 and 7, how many times does He say it?
Man says, “I will.” God says, “I will.” Man says “Let us,” but God continues to tell Abram, “I will.”
Faith is not rooted in man’s “I will’s” but in God’s “I will’s.” Not in man’s “Let us,” but in God’s sovereign will.
Another contrast: The people of Babel were trying to make a name for themselves (see 11:4). But they failed. Does anyone know their names today? A few of us know the name Nimrod, who is a type of the anti-Christ, a name that is despised. Yet God said to Abram, “I will give you a name,” and the name Abraham is revered throughout the entire world.
Faith is not rooted in human will. That’s very important. Today many people have sort of a “tower of Babel mentality,” trying to make for themselves a name. You don’t do that. You have to hear from God. Faith is not rooted in human will.
2. Faith is Not Rooted in Human Worth.
a. Abram was a pagan. Look again in 12:1. When God called Abram, he was a pagan, living in pagan idolatry, in an idolatrous land, “Ur of the Chaldees,” the center of idolatry.
b. Abram was already 75 years old. This tells us, no one is too pagan or too old for God to choose them.
3. Faith is Not Rooted in Human Wisdom.
a. Look again at 12:1.
“And the Lord said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country and from thy kindred and from thy father’s house unto a ________ that I will ________ thee.”
This wasn’t something Abram figured out. He marched under sealed orders. Faith is not positive thinking, following a hunch, hoping for the best, then trying to make it work. It’s not a feeling of optimism, it’s not “believing what you know isn’t so.” When Abraham went out, he didn’t know why and he didn’t know where. He only knew Whom.
True faith comes from the Word of God.
b. Turn to Romans 10:17
"So then faith cometh by _______________, and _____________ by the Word of God.”
Faith therefore does not rest on any road map, but in a relationship with Almighty God.
What is faith?
Remember, we have said that the root of faith is the Word of God—what God has said in His Word. Now, if you believe the word of God, that’s the root, but that’s not faith yet— that’s the preamble for faith.
A key concept to grasp:
Believing the word of God is mental. Faith is actual. The difference between belief and faith is that faith is belief with legs on it. Belief is knowing the Word of God. Faith is knowing the God of that Word.
Dr. Warren Wiersbe, one of the finest Bible expositors alive today, said
“Faith is not believing in spite of evidence—that’s superstition. Faith is obeying God’s Word in spite of circumstances or consequences.” We do not live by explanations, we live by promises.
QUESTIONS TO PONDER:
1. Abram heard from God. Are you hearing from God? Is God speaking to you?
2. Do you have a quiet time? Are you connected to God?
If God is not speaking to you, you’re not living by faith. It’s impossible. You’re going here and there, doing whatever you think you ought to do. Faith is hearing the word of God and acting on it.
1. Look again in Genesis 12:1.
“Now the Lord had said unto Abram, get thee ______ of thy country and from thy kindred and from thy father’s house into a land that I will show thee.”
In short: “Get thee out…unto.”
“Come out from where you are and go to where you need to be.”
Real faith not only brings us out, real faith brings us in.
When we say, “Get thee out,” for Abraham, it meant literally. But I’m speaking spiritually, not geographically. This means you cannot live in your old way of life and think at the same time you can live by faith. It cannot be done.
2. Turn to Deuteronomy 6:23
“And He brought us ______ from thence that He might bring us ____, to give us the land.”
a. Who is speaking?
b. Identify the “us” in this passage.
Similarly, God said to Abraham, “Come out of Ur that I might bring you in.”
c. If you want to have a life of faith, you must forsake idolatry. You say, “I don’t have any idols.” Is there anything you’ve put on a pedestal, something or someone you love more, serve more, fear more, trust more than God? That is an idol. Some love money more than God. Some fear man more than God. Some trust ability more than God. You cannot live a life of faith unless you are willing to come out of the old way. And you must turn from that idolatry, which is sin. Do you know the reason that many people don’t have faith? They’re not willing to leave Ur of the Chaldees. They try to have faith right where they are in their same old lifestyle and they wonder why it doesn’t work. There’s nothing that will quench the Spirit and quell faith more than sin in the heart.
d. Remember from our recent study, we examined carefully Psalm 66:18—
“If I regard (cherish, hold onto) iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.”
I pray that God will rivet these verses upon your heart:
3. Turn to Hebrews 3:12
“Beware lest there be in any of you an evil ___________ of _____________.”
Unbelief never comes out of the head, it comes out of the heart. Some protest that they cannot believe the Word of God because they have intellectual problems. No, they have a sin problem. There is some iniquity they are holding onto and cherishing. rotten sin.
“Wherefore seeing we also compassed about by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us ____ ________ every weight and the _____ which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.”
How do you look to Jesus? By laying aside those weights and sins that so easily beset us. There’s no way that you can pray with unconfessed, unrepented of sin in your heart and pray in faith.
Many people say, “I doubt my salvation, I’m not sure I’m saved, I have doubt, I have doubt, I have doubt. You talk to them about their theology, and they’ll nod their head, but they still have doubt. If you stay there long enough, you’ll find out that that person has sin in his or her life. Idols they’ve not forsaken. Things they’re doing. What right would you have to have absolute assurance if you’re living with sin in your heart and in your life? If you’re having trouble with faith, try repentance.
This is one of the most extensive of Dr. Rogers sermons, and this study only takes us halfway through it. In the remaining part, he teaches on the Reward of Faith, the Relapse of Faith, and how to Repair a broken faith. If you would like to hear the message its entirety, please ask for message 2303 when you call 1-800-274-5683. It is also available in the online LWF store. The message is also airing on the radio 9/29 & 9/30 and will be available via podcast or streaming for free at that time.