Father of the Faithful Multitude
When I was a child, I would always preach about Jonah and the whale when we came home from worship. Dad had preached that morning, and I wanted to be like Dad.
We need to be like Abraham, our father, the father of all the faithful. He is the “father of all those who believe” (Rom. 4:11). Those who are of faith are sons of Abraham (Ga1. 3:7).
Let’s examine Abraham’s life and see how we can become like him.
We Must Grow in Faith
Abraham is known for his faith and dependence on God. Abraham received the promise that he would be the father of many nations “through the righteousness of faith” (Rom. 4:13). Abraham was not weak in faith (Rom. 4:19). Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness” (Ga1. 3:6). Abraham was a man who took God at his word.
Yet, Abraham’s faith had to grow. While Abraham lived in Ur, God told Abraham to leave Ur and his relatives and go to the land God would show him (Acts 7:2-4). However, when Abram left be, he took his father Terah and his nephew Lot with him (Gen. 11:31-32; 12:4). Although Abram left his country, he did not leave his father’s house.
However, later in his life, Abraham trusted God. Abraham believed God when God told him that he would be the father of many descendants (Gen. 15:6). Abraham trusted God when God told him to sacrifice Isaac (Gen. 22).
Our faith, too, must grow. We cannot expect to have Abraham’s faith overnight. The faith of the Thessalonians grew exceedingly (2 Thess. 1:3).
Abraham’s faith grew when he was tested. When we are tested, we can choose to depend upon God, or we can choose to depend upon ourselves. As we depend upon God, our faith will grow.
We Must Honor Our Family
Abram prevented strife between himself and Lot. Abram and Lot dwelt together and had much cattle (Gen. 13:2-5). The land could not support their living together (Gen. 13:6). Strife was beginning to develop between Abram’s and Lot’s herdsmen (Gen. 13:7). Abram allowed Lot to choose the land he wanted so that there wouldn’t be any strife between them (Gen. 13:8-9).
Abram knew some great wisdom:
He knew that strife in a family accomplishes nothing but heartache.
Once one begins a quarrel, the quarrel is difficult to stop (Prov. 17:14). Any fool can begin a quarrel (Prov. 20:3).
Abraham chose not to be selfish.
Abraham could have insisted on what land to take, but he didn’t. Abraham could have thrown a fit when Lot chose the best land, but he didn’t.
Selfishness often leads to strife in families.
We must not be selfish in our families. Love does not seek its own way (1 Cor. 13:5). We must look out for the interest of others (Phi1. 2:4).
We Need to Obey God to Receive His Blessings
God entered a covenant with Abraham (Gen. 17:1-8). He would multiply his descendants exceedingly. Kings would come from him. He would give his descendants the land of Canaan.
Abraham had to keep his part of the covenant (Gen. 17:9-14). Al1 males were to be circumcised. The one who wasn’t circumcised was to be cut off from his people. Had Abraham not kept this covenant, God would not have blessed him.
Abraham and all the males in his house were circumcised (Gen. 17:23). We remember Abraham for his obedience. Had Abraham and those in his house not been circumcised, God would not have blessed Abraham. God told Abraham the ways he would be blessed. Then, God told Abraham what he needed to do.
We, too, need to do what God expects if we are to receive his blessings. Jesus gives eternal life to those who obey him (Heb. 5:9). Those who obey will have the right to the tree of life (Rev. 22:14).
We Must Obey Even in Difficult Circumstances
God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac (Gen. 22). When God spoke to Abraham, he called Isaac Abraham’s “only son,” the son whom he loved (22:2). Abraham deeply loved Isaac; this was the child of promised the child for whom he waited. God told Abraham to take Isaac and sacrifice him on Mt. Moriah (22:2). Abraham went to sacrifice his son, but the Angel of the LORD prevented him (22:3-12).
Although this was a difficult command, Abraham did what God instructed. The fact that Abraham and Sarah had a child at their age was phenomenal. This was the child Abraham and Sarah loved deeply. Although obedience was difficult, Abraham still did what God instructed.
Even if obedience is difficult for us, we still need to obey.
Sometimes obedience goes against family.
Had Abraham sacrificed Isaac: Sarah would have been far from pleased. Sometimes when we obey God, our families are far from pleased. Jesus told us that some families would turn against one another because of him (Mt. 10:21-22). Even if families despise us, we must still do right.
Sometimes obedience goes against society.
Had Abraham sacrificed Isaac, his friends and neighbors would have thought he was out of his mind. Sometimes when we obey God, our friends and neighbors think we are out of our mind. Those of his day did not understand what Jesus did (Mt. 11:19). Even if those of our day do not understand what we do, we must still do right.
This sermon was originally preached by Dr. Justin Imel, Sr., at the Owingsville church of Christ in Owingsville, Kentucky.