Hebrews 11:8-22: Enduring Faith 2

By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations,
whose architect and builder is God.

Hebrews 11:8 – 10

Sharing my sermon notes – so thankful for our church, our pastor, our staff who have a strong commitment to teaching the Word.

By faith, Abraham …

God presents Abram with a choice, a decision. Cling to the familiar, or step out in faith. Choose what you can see, or trust me for what you can’t see. Stay where you are, with what you know, or go to a place I will show you. The decision could not have been easy! What we learn from Abram’s obedience to God’s challenge is that God can be trusted – especially in uncertainties.

All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance,
admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.

Hebrews 11:13

Abram never experienced the promised land. Nor was he ever settled – he was a nomad. Instead he looked forward to the city of God! I love the phrase, “the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” We know that God is preparing a city, a holy city, and the foundation is Christ! “For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 3:11)

Therefore the Lord God said: “Look, I have laid a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; the one who believes will be unshakable.

Isaiah 28:16 CSB

A second area in which Abraham experienced uncertainty was in the promise of becoming the father of a great nation. Abram was already about 75 years old when God called him to leave his home in Ur, and he was childless. He waited about 25 more years before the promise was realized – Isaac was born to parents well past child-bearing age.

And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise.  And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.

Hebrews 11:11-12

The author of Hebrews points out that God was faithful in the promises made to Abraham. From one man there are descendants as infinite as stars and sand. But not all of these are of Abraham’s physical heritage but are spiritual children! Paul states in Galatians 3:7, “Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham.” Even you, me, all our brothers and sisters in Christ are children of Abraham!

Last, Abraham proved God’s faithfulness in uncertain times when he obeyed God in offering his only son, Isaac, on an altar of sacrifice. Abraham not only obeyed God but he clearly believed that God would intervene even to the point of raising his son from the dead!

By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” 
Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and
so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.

Hebrews 11:17-19

Sojourners on earth …

The promises of God were not necessarily for this world! Instead Abraham looked forward, saw the great promises of God, and “welcomed them from a distance!” He recognized that that he was sojourner, that this world was not his home, he’s just traveling through!

“Hear my prayer, Lord, and listen to my cry for help; do not be silent at my tears. For I am here with you as an alien, a temporary resident like all my ancestors.

Psalm 39:12

The author of Hebrews says these people of faith, in particular Abraham, longed, desired, even sought another country. He’s reminding us to hold loosely to the things of this world, and to seek first the kingdom of God! While our outward obedience is significant, our inner desires are key to the life of faith. We must desire a better country, a heavenly one, the one that God is preparing for us!

Faith sees the promised future that God offers – some now, mostly later – and “desires” it. … the point of this text is that living and dying by faith means having new desires and seeking new satisfactions. … They had been so gripped by God that nothing short of heaven – or what heaven could make out of earth by God’s presence on it – would satisfy.

John Piper, The Hope of Exiles on Earth, a sermon, June 29, 1997

Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God!

What’s the positive side of not being ashamed … I would be proud to be called their God, I would be pleased to be called their God! We saw in last week’s sermon on Hebrews 11:1 – 7, that it is FAITH that pleases God!

Because God is faithful, we can trust Him with the uncertainties of life, and trust Him for a better life to come!

One sweetly solemn thought
Comes to me over and over;
Nearer my home today am I
Than ever I’ve been before.

Nearer my Father’s house,
Where many mansions be,
Nearer today, the great white throne,
Nearer the crystal sea.

Nearer the bound of life,
Where burdens are laid down;
Nearer to leave the heavy cross,
Nearer to gain the crown.

Even now, perchance, my feet
Are slipping on the brink,
And I, today, am nearer home,
Nearer than now I think.

Father, perfect my trust!
Strengthen my power of faith!
Nor let me stand, at last, alone
Upon the shore of death.

Phoebe Cary, 1852

PS – If you want to go back through my notes on the Hebrews series – here are the links:

 If you are interested in this sermon series, check out our church website, click here, series, “Look to Jesus.”

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