"A Long Walk"
How's your walk with the Lord? We are called to walk by faith. Abraham's story helps us see faith in action.
A Long Walk
A. When we talk about how we are doing spiritually, we often go to the tangible outward signs. We look at our behaviors and seek to find if they honor God or dishonor him. We ask questions like, “Am I staying true to my marriage vows?” “Have I been reading my Bible and praying regularly?” “Do I love my brother in Christ as Christ loves me?” All of these are great questions, but they are simply the fruit of a deeper spiritual factor.
B. Paul wrote to a newly established congregation in Thessalonica. He said that he sent Timothy to them for a reason. That reason was not to check out their church building fund, their budget, or their attendance. Look at what Paul was concerned about: 1 Thes. 3:2, 5, 6, 10.
C. Throughout this chapter, Paul is concerned about one word: Faith. Why this emphasis? What Paul knew is what we seem to have forgotten. That is when Christians struggle in a sin, when we grow cold in the Lord; it is because faith has taken a back seat to most other aspects of life.
I. He Walked By Faith, Not By Sight
A. Look back at verse 1 of our text. I highlighted the first word God told Abram. GO. Go from your homeland, go from your family, go from all that you know and I want you to go to place that I will tell you.
B. I love to travel. I love vacation. I love to see new places, experience new things, and see other cultures. But every time I have traveled I knew where I was going. I had an agenda, a purpose or a reason for going on the trip. I was never in Abram’s position. I love the way the Hebrew writer puts it (Heb. 11:8).
C. Now I have never been called by God to go someplace and not know where I am going. But I have been called by God behave in a similar manner.
D. Paul writes to the church in Corinth and he reminds them that as Christians we have a great and glorious future. It is called our heavenly dwelling. (read 2 Cor. 5:6-7)
E. We “walk by faith not by sight.” I live in this body, in this tent of flesh, longing to be with God in the spiritual realm, but I have never seen that spiritual home. The best I can do is listening to Jesus who has and to his disciples who long to be with God, and live in this flesh walking by faith that Heaven is real. I am called to believe that there is an afterlife, that God has prepared a place, and that if I journey in this life as He directs, I will be walking home. I will be walking to a home I have never seen yet believe by faith is real and is prepared for me. I am not Abraham, but I have a similar calling. So how do I learn how to walk by faith?
II. The Promise of God Was Enough
A. In our text this morning we read these words (vs 2-3). God promised Abram that he would:
1. Make him into a great nation
2. Bless him and make his name great
3. Protect him (bless and curse others)
4. The whole earth will be blessed through him
B. When I ask myself why Abram went, I come back to these words. Abram lived his life by the promises of God, not simply the commands. Because he believed in the promises, the commands were the means to receive what had already been promised.
C. If I promised you a large sum of money, but before you could get it I wanted you to do a few things for me that were within your power, would you do it? Most of us love money enough, that as long as we were not doing something immoral or illegal, as long as it was within our power, we would do it to get that money.
D. What God promises is greater than money, power, fame, or anything this world has to offer. God promises us eternity away from corruption, disease, peril, and problems. Heaven is filled with the glory of God, so really I must decide if God is enough? Some people want to go to heaven because of past loved ones, because the pain they are in physically is so great they want to be free of it, or because the trials in this life have been burdensome. But even though we will see loved ones, be free from pain and trials, the promise is that we are with God forever. Is the promise of being with God’s enough? Don’t walk by commands, but the promise.
III. Seeing Ahead
A. In our text we read verse 4, “So Abram went…” That’s what it is all about. Faith is belief in action. Faith is taking God at his word, believing in his promises and going for a long walk, a journey, towards home. The Hebrew writer said that if we want to draw near to God we must “believe that He exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Heb. 11:6).
B. When writer spoke of Abraham and told us about his faith to go where he didn’t know where he was going, he did give us a reason. (Read Heb. 11:10). That’s me too.
C. People of faith see ahead. Not in this life, but see and believe what is really ahead, a home with God forever.
A. So how is your faith walk? We who are children of God have been called by God. As we accepted that invitation to come to God, he calls us to walk by faith because his commands are not burdensome. It can be a long journey, so we are to persevere.
B. Jesus tells a parable of a woman who was being mistreated. She called upon a judge to help her, but he was an unjust judge and didn’t want to bother with her. But the help she needed was great so she continued to go to him. Finally he gave in to her request; not because he cared but because she persevered. At the end of that parable Jesus says these words, Luke 18:8, “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” The point is perseverance.
C. As a church family we come together to worship God, remember the body and blood of Jesus, and to stir one another on to love and good works. We come together because we need each other to help us persevere. Maybe you are here today, and you are in need of such encouragement. If we can encourage you on your walk of faith, come as we stand and sing.