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Living by Faith (Vol 34) - Abraham: How to be Strong in Faith?

Sunday English Service - 07 APR 19

Transcript

Hebrews chapter 11. Let me read to you verse 11 and 12. By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars in the sky in multitude— innumerable as the sand, which is by the seashore. As you know, we've been teaching from Hebrews 11, on living by faith. The author here is teaching the first century Christians, these are converts from Judaism to Christianity, they’re terribly discouraged because they are troubled by the people of their former religion that they belonged to, Judaism. And they're undergoing a lot of challenges. And he wants to encourage them.

Therefore, he's teaching them what faith is all about. And he's using all the Old Testament personalities to teach faith because they are people that are very familiar with the Old Testament. And he starts with Abel as an example then Enoch and then Noah then comes to Abraham, and spends quite a lot of time with Abraham from verse 8 to 19. A large portion of the chapter is devoted to Abraham because he's a very important person when it comes to faith. He’s known for his faith and his blessing. The blessing of Abraham and the faith of Abraham is the subject in the New Testament very widely spoken of. So, Abraham's faith is an example to all of us. He's called the father of the faithful. Therefore, he spends a lot of time talking about that.

If you take that long passage, verses 8 to 19, you can immediately see that it's divided into four sections. The first session is about the call of Abraham, how God called him from a place where he lived in ignorance of God, did not know the living God, he has a tremendous encounter with God. It must have been an amazing encounter because he leaves his country and his people, and sets out on a journey not knowing where he was going to go to the place where God would show him because He has promised him something. That must have been a real encounter which really mattered to him. Otherwise, no man will leave and go thousand miles walking in those days to another country that he doesn't even know what it's all about. Goes on an adventure.

Faith’s journey begins, the call of God on Abraham's life. We have all experienced that in our lives. We were at one time without the knowledge of God, we lived without knowing God, we had an encounter with God that is why we left our former life, the manner of life that we lived in before, and taken on this faith in Christ and began a new life. Many of us have come from very strong, traditional backgrounds, which we left and have entered into this new life. Not simply for nothing. You have really had an encounter with God, you really came to know God. And God has really touched your life. That's the call of God. We all have experienced the first stage of faith where the call happens.

The second stage is the life in the promised land where he faces many challenges. One of the great lessons he learns there is that God is his source. I know that in my own life, next to salvation, the greatest thing that I learned in Christian life is that God is the one that supplies all my needs. I think that everyone has to go through that stage, where you really begin to understand that God is the one that meets all your needs. It’s a very important lesson to learn. Abraham learns it when he flees to Egypt because there was no food in the land which God took him to. He should have depended on God. The famine was there but God was there. God was wanting to show him how in the midst of the famine that He will feed him. But he didn't give a chance to God, he ran. Tried to find his own way and own food, by his own strength but graciously God brings him back and brings him back as a rich man in the midst of famine. Makes the pharaoh who doesn't give to anybody to give to him, and blesses him and meets his needs and he comes back as a man that was changed. Knowing God in a new way, that God is one who can take him through a famine and bring him out with shining colors. He understands that. Then he goes to war with some kings, and he understands that God can give him victory also. That God will deliver his enemies into his hands. That though he’s an ordinary man, he can stand before kings and fight a battle and win the battle. All these things he understands that life's battles are going to be won because God will deliver our enemies into our hands. That God will give us the victory. He understands, learns that lesson in the second stage of faith.

Now we're in the third stage of faith learning about that. And that is a stage where he finds out that God is the God of the impossible. We've been talking about in the last few weeks. God is the God of impossible. Why we have titled this third stage like this? Because this is the stage where he believes against all hope he hopes, where there is no hope he hopes and believes that God would give him a child. He's 99 years old, his wife is 90 years old and now he's got a challenge before him. God has given him a promise. And the whole world says this is not possible. Nature says it's not possible. Every circumstance says it's not possible. But God says He's going to do it. Now he's going to have to believe it and he understands here that God is the God of the impossible. That's a lesson that we all have to learn. We have to go through this stage of faith. It's a wonderful stage of faith.

Have you experienced God's miracles in your life? I've had a chance to experience God's many miracles in my life. When you experience God's miracles in your life, you'll be changed person. You begin to realize what kind of a God you worship and you begin to get very deep in faith in God because you begin to realize that He is a God who can do anything and everything. So, that is what verses 11 and 12 are about. How Sarah herself received strength to conceive and bore a child when she was past the age because she judged Him to be faithful who had promised so that from one man who's as good as dead, was born as many as the stars of the sky, and multitude as innumerable as the sand which is by the seaside. That's how Hebrews puts it. But what is said here in two verses is explained in Romans chapter 4. That's why we went to Romans 4 last week. Let's continue there where we left off last week.

In Romans chapter 4, the Apostle Paul takes this fact that by faith Sarah conceived, by faith Abraham, whose body was as good as dead produced children, and became the father of many nations. The simple statement in Hebrews 11, is explained more in detail in Romans chapter 4 by the great Apostle Paul. And let me read to you from verse 18 to 22. Talking about Abraham he says, who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall your descendants be.” And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead, (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah's womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was able to perform. And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.”

Now, this is a very loaded passage. So, we began to unpack it last week. I said to you that this passage immediately tells us five characteristics of true faith. What are they? One, faith believes in the word of God. Remember? Two, faith believes in the bare word of God, wanting no other evidence, seeking nothing to support it. Thirdly, faith believes the word of God in spite of contrary evidences. Though everything else looks to the contrary, in spite of contrary evidences, faith believes the word of God. Fourthly, faith is fully convinced about the word of God. Fifthly, faith acts on the word of God. These are five things. I'll think, if you just note down these five things, these will greatly help you in your life.

What is true faith? A lot of people don't even know what faith is, what true faith is, what Bible faith is all about. Don't even know where the Bible talks about it in such wonderful detail even more than Hebrews 11 verses 1 to 3 where we have a wonderful definition and explanation of faith, I believe Romans 4 is a greater passage in that aspect, that it explains faith and gives these characteristics of faith, like no other passage in the Bible, and it gives these five characteristics of true faith. We saw it last week. But let's go in a little further. How can a man believe God's word in that way? How can he believe the bare word of God? How can he believe it in spite of contrary evidences? How can he be fully convinced of God's word? How can he simply act on God's word even though everything looks to the contrary? How can that be? How can that happen?

Here, Paul says, it will happen when you are strong in faith. How to be strong in faith. That's what I'm going to talk about today. How to be strong in faith. When you're strong in faith, it doesn't matter that you don't have favorable circumstances or evidences to support the word of God. It doesn't matter that you're facing contrary evidences. It doesn't matter you just have the bare word of God and nothing else to rest on. Only thing that matters is God's word. If you're strong in faith, you're able to do these five things that we talked about.

So, let me put it this way today, what does faith do? How does faith enable you to do these five things? First of all, it prevents us from doing two things. Let me mention this first. It prevents us from becoming weak. Faith prevents us from becoming weak. Let me show you how. In chapter 4 verse 19, it tells you how you can avoid being weak in faith and become strong in faith. Look at verse 19, being not weak in faith, he did not consider his own body already dead. That means as good as dead, since he was about 100 years old, and the deadness of Sarah's womb. He was not weak in faith. He did not consider his own body, which is as good as dead, and his wife’s womb that was dead. That's how it puts it.

Now, this is a very important verse, I need to explain something here. If you’re reading King James Version, or like me, you're reading New King James Version, it will say, he did not consider his own body that was dead and his wife’s womb that was dead, he did not consider. That’s how it says. And therefore, traditionally, we have understood it this way. How not to become weak in faith, how to become strong in faith. Sometimes, preachers said that you should not consider your body, you should not consider your circumstances, you should not consider what circumstances you're going through. Turn a blind eye... I read a book many years ago, when I was a student it says, “Turn your back on your problems.” Since you got a problem, turn your back. As if the problem will go away if you turn your back. But I found if you turn your back, the problem is still chasing you, hunting you down and destroying you. You don't take care of the problem by turning your back on the problem. You got to deal with the problem.

So, this verse because it says being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body, which was now dead, being 100 years old, and the deadness of his wife, Sarah's womb. Because it puts it like this, many people thought that to be strong in faith, what you need to do is, you should not consider the circumstances, you should turn your back on your problems and so on. Now, I need to explain this because this has led to a lot of controversy, a lot of people laughing about Christianity and religion in general. What they say is, religion helps people to deny the reality. Even Sigmund Freud who’s a father of psychoanalysis, he said, religion is the opium of the people. It means it has got a numbing effect, it has got an intoxicating effect, it somehow helps you forget the problem. It’s like a drunkard.

I had a friend who used to drink because he was not getting married. And then finally got married. And after he got married, he was drinking because he was married now. Before, not being married was a problem. Now, being married was a problem because wife is giving problem. The guy either way he was drinking because the only way he knew how to deal with his problem was drink. So, you can forget that because of the problems. “What can I do Sam? I got a problem. I'm drinking because I'm trying to forget the problem.” Intoxicating himself, numbing himself, hoping that the problem will go away. But the problem never went away. He just died literally. Died. Wife left him, died. Problem became bigger because he became an alcoholic and nothing could deliver him from that because he kept drinking and drinking more and more and which wife would want to live with a man like that? She left him and he was devastated and he died finally.

So, it doesn't solve your problem. And some people think Christianity is like that. As one man said, they go into a church and shut the doors and they all go into a trance. They say, “Hallelujah. Glory to God,” and they're in a different world. And they forget everything, their problems. In some places, they just are on the floor literally. And two hours later, somebody wakes them up. He says, “Church is over, you can go home.” They've had this tremendous, glorious, heavenly experience. And then they go home and they say, “Well, I had a wonderful experience. I was down on the floor for two hours. Don't even know what happened, what they preached or what, but anyway, when I got up, I felt fresh. But when I got home, the problem was still there. And I still didn't know what to do with my problems.”

People think of religion as something that gives them this kind of experiences, helping them to forget their problems, gives them some kind of a numbing experience effect in their life so that they can forget their problems. Some people say, “Well, I come into your service,” and saying, “singing is wonderful. The worship is so wonderful, the atmosphere is so great. I forget all my problems.” And I'm happy that you can forget all your problems for a while but that's not all that we do here. Trying to just help you forget your problems so we can sing nice songs and help you forget your problems. That is not our goal. I'm glad you’re forgetting your problems, at least for the time being and hearing God's word because the answer to your problem is in God's word. I'm not trying to help you forget your problems, I'm trying to help you deal with the problem. And Christianity is about dealing with your problems, not forgetting your problems.

Because this verse says he did not become weak in faith, because he considered not his own body that was now dead and his wife’s womb that was dead. It was interpreted to mean that if you don't look at the deadness of your body, and the deadness of your wife’s womb, if you don't look at your problems, if you just keep your eyes away from the problem, then you will not become weak, you'll become strong in faith. How can you become strong in faith just not looking at the problem? Turning your back on the problem is not going to make you strong in faith. In fact, I would say that you will not be able to turn your back on your problem.

Suppose you got a simple thing like headache, what are you going to say to the guy when you teach faith? “Please forget your headache. Don't pay any attention to the headache.” How can a man with a headache forget his headache? That's a headache, man, it’s in his head and it's occupying his thoughts and it's bothering him, it's disturbing him, it's paining. How can he not think about it? And you're telling him, “Don't think about it.” The more you tell him not to think about it, he’s thinking about it. And you tell him, “Well, don't think about it, then you will get strong in faith.”

So, outsiders have laughed at Christianity and religion in general saying that it's an opium of the people, it’s just an effort to try to make people forget their problems, divert them from their problems. Religion says, don't look at your problems, and so on. This kind of thing has been going on. That's why this has to be properly interpreted. See, if you're reading King James Version, or like New King James Version, it will say, he considered not. But you know surprisingly, the revised versions, the translations that came later, today, they say English Standard Version is the closest to the original, they say. From time to time they bring up new translations. From some time ago, it was New International Version but not anymore. Now ESV is the most preferred version. They say it's closer to the original. Why they make corrections and keep revising is because sometimes in translations, some meanings don't come out as they should. So, they make an effort to better it. So, thank God for the new translations and corrections, revised versions, as we call them.

So, the later versions, generally, a lot of them put it this way, he considered his own body that was now dead and is... listen to me, not, considered not. It says, he considered his body which was now dead being 100 years old, and his wife’s womb that was now dead, but yet did not grow weak in faith. That's the way they put it. Why is this difference between the older version and the new version? The King James version and the later versions, why this correction? One says, he considered not, there's a big difference, the other says, he considered. Did he consider or did he not consider? Everybody says no, the later version is correct. Why it is correct? They say when you translate from the original... originally it was in the Greek language they translated. These things are derived from manuscripts. See, in the old days they didn’t have printing press, they did not print these things, they hand-copied these things. Many copies of the book of Romans were made and sent to the churches, and they made copies, distributed more. So, there's thousands of copies out there eventually.

So now, they try to figure out which is the earliest copy because more value is given to the earliest copy. They use a dating system to find out which among the copies that we have today, as manuscripts, which is the earliest copy? Because the earliest copy is the better copy, more preferred copy. Because as you go down the line and make more copies, more mistakes may occur. So, they say the earlier copies did not say, “He considered not his own body.” The earlier copies say, “He considered his body yet did not become weak in faith.” The later copies somehow turned it into he considered not his own body and his wife’s womb that was now dead, and did not become weak in faith. So, they say the earlier copy is better. In that way that translation is better. But we don't know much about manuscripts and all that, that is farfetched thing for you to believe.

Let's come down to even more simpler way to understand what it says. I already told you to say to a person, “Do not consider your sickness, do not consider the fact that you don't have money, do not consider your headache, do not consider your problem,” is unreasonable. The more you tell them, “Don't consider,” he’s considering. A lot of times people have that in their mind. It is impossible not to consider. And in fact, the Bible says, if you go to the history of Abraham and Sarah, it says they considered, that is why that translation is correct, that he considered yet did not become weak in faith. If you look at Genesis chapter 17, I'll show you, it is not true to say that Abraham did not consider. You cannot say Abraham did not consider his own body which was as good as dead, and his wife’s womb that was as good as dead. No, it does not say that he did not consider. It clearly says that Abraham considered very much his problem.

Look at chapter 17 of Genesis, let me read to you verse 15. Then God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name.” “And I will bless her and also give you a son by her. Then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be from her. This is about Sarah, how God changed her name from Sarai to Sarah. The new name meant mother of many nations. The same kind of thing was told Abraham in verse 5, that he will not be called Abram but hereafter he will be called Abraham, putting an H in the middle and that would mean father of many nations. So, both of them are told that their names are changed, now they're going to be called father of many nations and mother of nations. And they're going to become father of many nations and mother of many nations.

Now, look at their response. I read to you verse 15 and 16. Look at the response now. Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed. Now, tell me, did he consider? Did he consider his body is as good as dead? Did he consider his wife’s womb was as good as dead, they’re too old, that it’s not possible, that it's impossible naturally to conceive at this age? Did he not consider? Why did he laugh? He fell to his face and laughed. I can see him laughing. Especially when they told him about his wife, he fell to his face, laughed. Just started laughing. And said in his heart... Now listen to this. How can you say he never thought about it or he did not consider what was happening to his body? Said in his heart, “Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old?” This is what he's saying in his heart. “And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?”

Now, the reality is that Abraham and Sarah both, later on in the chapter you will read, that Sarah also laughed. So, you can't tell me that Abraham and Sarah became strong in faith by not considering. To say that they did not consider their body, the problem, the impossibility is wrong. They considered very much. It was very much in their mind; it was very much in their heart. They went as far as laughing about God's proposal to give them a child. So, they very much considered their problem.

So, the interpretation of Romans chapter 4 verse 19, the correct kind of interpretation is that, he considered his body, which was now as good as dead, and Sarah's womb which was dead, yet did not become weak in faith. That is what is correct. He did not become weak in faith. Why this is so important? See, once you say this, that he considered, then the whole thing changes. You are not telling people to forget about their problems, turn their back on problems. The outsiders cannot laugh at us anymore. We become a very serious people. We don't come to church to forget things. We are not fools. We are not trying to drug ourselves into denying our problems. No, we're not going through some unreasonable religious experience and having some freaky experience here inside the church. Nothing freaky is happening here.

Look at all the smart people here. Do they look like they're having freaky experience here? Nobody's rolling and nobody's lost their consciousness. Nobody’s sitting here not knowing what is happening. Everybody's got a Bible. Everybody's listening. Everybody's carefully considering what I'm saying. We're using our mind. We are sitting and thinking thoughts. Reasoning with the word of God, looking at the word of God, showing some truths. This is a place of great awareness of spiritual truth. Instead of trying to forget, we are trying to remind people of God's word here. We are not trying to make anybody forget anything. We are not trying to lead anybody into some kind of a mysterious, religious experience so that they'll forget where they are and what they're going through. No, we don't do all those. That’s not the kind of religion Christianity is. We have come here with our Bibles, well aware, educated people, learned people, successful people. You can’t just fool people here. I can't be just telling stories here and expect people to come here. They're listening very carefully. They know whether what the preacher is saying is right or wrong. They know. They’re considering it.

So, Christianity is not like that. Not like some people think, not like what Freud said it is. It's not the opium of the people. It's very much a way where truth reigns in the hearts and minds of people. It is a place where truth is expounded. We are interested in truth. We're looking at truth, we're expounding on truth. We’re explaining truth line by line, precept upon precept, carefully teaching the word of God, reasoning logically. One preacher defined preaching like this, he said, “Preaching is logic on fire.” That's what is happening here. It's not just fire, some places it's only fire. “Fire, fire, fire.” No, no, it's logic on fire. We're thinking. We're not telling anybody to forget anything, turn away from anything, turn your back on anything, no, it’s logic on fire. It's a very serious time that we sit here and do this.

So, Christianity is not about forgetting your problems, Christianity doesn't teach that. Christianity teaches, face your problems, take your problems head on. It says, “Where is your problem? Understand your problem. Look at your problem.” But don't just think there is only problem there is something else. Place that right next to the problem. There is the problem, the impossibility, the terrible thing, the fact that he's 100 years old, his wife is 90 years old. Nature says it's impossible. Everybody says it’s impossible. Everybody knows it's impossible. But then there is the other fact which is God and His word. God says it's possible. Well, nature says it's impossible, but He is the maker of nature. God says it's possible, well everybody says it's impossible. Well, God is the maker of everything. To God, nothing is impossible. It is to Abraham at that time only, in that chapter only, Abraham was asked this question, “Is there anything too hard for the Lord?”

So, Christianity is where you look at the problem straight on. You don't deny it, you don't act as if there is no problem, you know the problem but you know that the word of God is the answer. You place the problem with the answer right next to it. Which is greater, the problem is greater than the answer? The problem comes from all that you have made or all that the world and the sin and the world has brought about, that's the problem. The answer is coming from God, the Almighty God, to whom nothing is impossible. For whom all things are possible. He’s the creator of heaven and earth. Is the problem greater than the answer? I say to you, my friend, a Christian is one who considers both these things. He knows the problem, then he looks at the answer in the word of God, the promises of God. And he says, “Yeah, I know what the problem is. I know the world says it's not possible. I know everybody says it's not doable. But I believe in God's word. God says it's doable.” And he believes in the word of God. So, faith does not turn its back on the problems. It looks straight on the face of the problems and rises above them.

Secondly, faith prevents our staggering. I think the older version says he did not stagger at the promise of God. The word stagger is used in verse 20. He did not stagger at the promise of God. My translation here says, he did not waver at the promise of God, because staggering is wavering. What is staggering? Have you seen a guy who's drunk walking down the road? He will not be walking in a straight line. That's why when the policeman stops him, he says, “Get down.” And he says, “Stand there, and then take a walk.” He can tell by the time he walks a few feet whether he's drunk or not. Because he cannot keep a line. He'll be going like this and then coming like this. You don't know where he's going. He doesn't know where he's going also. It's like he's trying to measure the road. He’s strolling everywhere instead of walking. He doesn't even realize what he's doing. That's the drunk. That's a man on intoxication. That is what staggering is, wavering.

He did not stagger at the promise of God through unbelief it says, verse 20. Did not stagger at the promise of God through unbelief. See, unbelief attacks us along two lines, two ways unbelief comes. Please get this because it will really help you to understand when unbelief comes to you. The first thing that unbelief does is, it comes to you and says, “Hey, look at the facts. Look at you. You're 100 years old. Look at you, your wife is 90 years old. Look at you. Look at what the doctor says. Look at what everybody says. Look at what nature says. Look at reality. Look at the problem. Look at your difficulty. Look at your weakness, look at your impossibility.”

So, when unbelief comes, you know it very surely. You shouldn't say, “I don't know, brother when it came.” No, you know very well when it came. When your heart started saying, “Look at this problem. It's so impossible. It's so bad. So, gone beyond relief and nothing can rescue me from this. It's impossible. It's not doable.” When your heart begins to speak like that to you that means unbelief is attacking you, telling you to look at the problem, your weakness, your difficulty, your problem, “Look at your age, look at your sickness, look at your everything,” that's the way it goes about it. You need to get over it. How do you get over it? You say, “Yeah, I know. I know. I know. Yeah, I know what age, I know what difficulty is there. I know what the doctor said. I know what the problem is. I know what everything is. But I'm going to look at the word of God because there are two things in this world. One, there is a problem, but there is a God. I'm going to look at what God said. I have faith in God. I'm going to look at God and His word.” So, you look at God's word.

So, you’ve come past the first stage. You have successfully crossed the attack of unbelief, which says, “Look at your problems,” and you are now focusing on the promises. And when you focus on the promises, the unbelief comes in another way now. It knows that you have overcome the first obstacle it put in your way. Now, it comes through another way. You know what it says, “Now, since you're looking at the promises of God...” you know what it says now unbelief, how it attacks you? It says, “Just look at the promise of God, how impossible this is. How incredible this is, this is too much. You think this promise is doable?” First, he told you to look at the problem and you said, “No, I’ll look at the word of God.” Now since you're looking at the word of God, he says, “Look at the word of God. All right. Look at the word of God. See how impossible this is.”

I told you about the promise that God gave to Abraham. “So shall your seed be,” is the promise. That promise contained three things I told you. It's not a simple promise that he will have a child at old age. Even if it was just only that, that would have been a very big promise, incredible promise, unbelievable promise because they were very old. But that promise contained three things, I told you. Do you remember that? One, it contained the promise that he will have a natural progeny. That he will be the father the Israelites. He will have a son, through the son, grandsons, and then they will become a nation called the Israelites. That was the first promise, that natural seed, descendants will be there.

Second thing that ‘so shall you seed be’ meant that Jesus, the Seed of Abraham, will come. Sometime later, 2,000 years after the promise was made, the Seed of Abraham, Jesus, will be born through Abraham, as a descendant of Abraham. That is contained in that ‘so shall your seed be.’ Thirdly, the promise contained another element. That is, people from every tongue, tribe and nation will put their faith in Jesus Christ who is the descendant of Abraham, as their Savior and Lord because He's the Godsent Messiah, and believe in Him and receive salvation. And therefore, they will all become through faith, the children of Abraham. So, Abraham, literally, somewhere down the road, hundreds of years later through Jesus Christ, becomes the father of many nations. Because people from all kinds of nations become his children, through faith in Christ. Three things. Natural descendants, Jesus Christ, the Seed, then Gentiles coming in and becoming the children of Abraham.

Three things, incredible. I mean, this is too much. Like I told you that just one thing, a son will be born will be too much already because he’s old. But this is too much. He’s talking about things that's going to happen thousands of years later. And he’s supposed to believe it. Incredible. And unbelief would come and attack Abraham in this way, “Look at this. Is this at all possible? I mean, it's not just saying to you that you will become a father at 100 years of age, that may be possible. But how are you going to become father of many nations? You may produce a nation, the nation of Israel, but how are you going to become father of many nations. This is not a doable promise. It cannot come to pass. It's impossible.” See, that's how unbelief comes. Unbelief attacks you, comes against the word of God, tells you to focus on the problem first, and if you don't focus on the problem, you look at the promise. It'll tell you, “This promise is too much. The problem is the promise. The promise is the problem. It cannot happen,” it says.

And what does the man who staggers at the promise of God do? What does staggering mean? It means to waver. But the dictionary definition is this, to discriminate, to judge, to estimate. So, man who's going through staggering, wavering about the promises, is going back and forth, he is discriminating or discerning, judging, estimating, calculating and begins to argue within himself. He is at variance with himself, begins to argue with himself. Faith and reason are battling things. Faith says this and reason says exactly the opposite. He goes backwards and forwards. He’s staggering. James described such a man as one who is unstable in all his ways like the waves of the sea. Going back and forth, no stability, staggering. And Paul says, Abraham did not stagger.

Abraham did not do two things. One, he did not become weak because he did not only consider the problem, he considered the word of God. He did not become weak. Secondly, he did not stagger. He did not waver at the promise of God. And without wavering, he now became strengthened in faith, it says, giving glory to God. Look at verse 20. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God. Let me explain this. Paul is always like this. First, he puts it negatively then he puts it positively. He talks about two things that he did not do. He didn't become weak; he did not stagger. And I explained that. Then he talks about what he did do to become strong in faith. It says, He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was able to perform. It says he was strengthened in faith giving glory to God and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was able to perform.

I think the Tamil Version says it even better. It puts it like this, it says, he became fully convinced. The fully convinced part comes before. It says, he became fully convinced that what He had promised He was able to perform and thereby he glorified God and became strengthened in faith. That's the way the Tamil puts it. Let me say it again. He became fully convinced that what God had promised He is able to perform, and thereby he glorified God, by being fully convinced he glorified God, it says, and became strengthened in faith or became strong in faith. He became fully convinced, glorified God, and became strong in faith. That's how the Tamil puts it. And it's a wonderful way to put it. It helps you to understand quickly.

So, there you have a revelation of what it means to glorify God. He glorified God and became strong in faith. What does it mean to say that he glorified God? Let's just consider this before we close. What does he mean when he says he glorified God by being fully convinced? That means he began to look at God, who He is, what He is, what kind of a person He is, this person who has promised him all these things, and begin to examine what kind of a person this God is, what kind of a nature He has, what kind of a God He is, and began to meditate upon that. Thank God we have Bible today, we have Genesis to Revelation.

If you came here Tuesday nights for our Tuesday night services, Jeevan is doing a wonderful exposition on John's Gospel chapter 17 right now, about the glory of God. I mean, he goes through the whole Bible, literally, about the glory of God. Amazing truths. If you are not able to come you should listen online, at least, the Tuesday night sessions. It's in English and Tamil, with translation. Amazing things the Bible says about the nature of God. The Bible is full of revelation about who God is. What kind of a God is He? But Abraham didn't have a Bible. That's the thing. We have a Bible so we can come to Bible studies and study these glorious things. But Abraham didn't have a Bible, but he has met this God. “The God of glory,” Stephen said, “revealed himself to him, or came to him, appeared to him,” he says. So, he has met the God of glory, he has learned something about his glory.

What is the glory of God? Glory of God is about who He is, His love, His greatness, His goodness, His truthfulness, His holiness, His righteousness. That's the glory of God. Glory of God is not just some kind of a cloud that just passes by. Glory of God is these things. It’s the beauty of who God is, the wonder of who God is. That's what the glory of God is all about. When Jesus came into the world, He was God. When He came into the world, He laid aside His glory and came. That means, He did not reveal His glory all the time because people can't take it. His flesh covered His glory, veiled His glory. But sometimes He revealed it. When He turned the water into wine in John chapter 2 verse 11 it says, He thereby showed forth His glory. It says that. Standing at the grave of Lazarus, He told his sister, “If you believe, you will see the glory of God.” When He raised Lazarus from the dead, the glory of God was revealed. What does it mean? It means it showed who He is, how great He is, how Almighty He is, how powerful He is. When He turned water into wine it showed how glorious He is, what a great God He is, what He can do, how powerful He is. Like that, He revealed His glory many times. Little by little, for a short, brief glimpse, He gave of the glory of God.

But God is a God of glory. The glory of God is revealed in so many ways. In Jesus, it is revealed in His death on the cross of Calvary. In His resurrection, it is revealed. In His ascension, it is revealed. In His session at the right hand of God, where He is seated, it is revealed. All these things should be considered to consider the glory of God. So, Abraham went and looked at what kind of a God He is. He began to look at God's glory, God's majesty, how great He is, how good He is. He began to consider that. What kind of a God is the one that has promised him? He looked at God's omnipresence, that He's everywhere. Remember, the Psalmist says, if it is heaven God is there. Therefore, he runs to hell, he says... tries to make his abode there but He’s there also. There is nothing anywhere where he can hide from God. It means you cannot escape the scan from His eyes. You cannot escape out of His sight. You cannot hide anywhere from Him; you cannot do anything without His knowledge. He is omnipresent. He’s everywhere.

He knows everything. He's omniscient, that means He knows everything - the past, present and future. Before you were born, He knew. Before you ran into the problems you run into now, He knows all your problems. He knows your needs. He knows what will happen 10 years from now. He knows your future down the road. He knows hundreds of years from now what history will be like. He knows everything past, present and future.

Abraham began to consider these things. See, we think he gave glory to God literally means that he just stood there and just sang some songs and said, “All glory to God.” No, he gave glory to God means that he began to consider and meditate and contemplate these things. Who God is, how good He is, how great He is, His Majesty, His goodness, His grace. All of these things he began to meditate. His omniscience, omnipresence, His omnipotence, that He is all powerful, that there is nothing impossible for Him, that all things are possible to Him.

Began to contemplate His righteousness. God is always the right in everything that He does. He's righteous, He is just, He is truth, He’s a God of truth, He is holy, and He is unchangeable. He is everlasting. See, these are all attributes of God. This is what God is. Who's our God? Our God is a glorious God. There is so much beauty about Him, so much good things about Him. What kind of beauty? What are you talking about? He’s majestic, He’s all powerful, all knowing, present everywhere. He is full of righteousness, He’s full of truth, He’s holy, He’s good, He’s unchangeable. He’s a God of truth, He is everlasting. Abraham began to meditate on all of these things. Think about these things. That is what is meant by being fully convinced that what He had promised He was able to perform.

Abraham was not just sitting and looking at the wall. Abraham was considering this Person, this God who had come to him and appeared there and gave him the promise. Abraham was considering His nature, His goodness, His righteousness, His truthfulness, His holiness, His goodness, His all-powerful nature, all knowing God. He considered all of that thing. He went over and over, thought about it, and he came to three conclusions. The first conclusion is, if God is who He is, if He's omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, if He is righteous, He's truthful, He’s holy, He’s good, if He is unchanging, if He's everlasting, if God is who He is, then He would never give a promise lightly, loosely or falsely. That's the first conclusion. He would never promise anything lightly, loosely or falsely.

Election time, I can't help but mention it. What a great example. He doesn't make promises and just dishes them out. Some people they make promises knowing very well they can't keep it. For your information, God does not need our votes. God is not standing in election. He is not coming to your house, you know, saying, “Please give Me a vote.” He doesn't care about your votes whether you elect Him as God, whether you reject Him to be God, whether you accept Him to be God, it does that matter. Nothing changes the fact that He is God. And there is no other God. He is God. You can say a number of things; you can say all kinds of things. You can argue against it, you can fight against it, shake your fist against Him, you can curse Him, you can laugh at Him, you could do all you want, He’s God.

He doesn't need your favor, my favor. He's not seeking our votes. Then why did He come to Abraham if He's not seeking his vote? Why would He come to Abraham and dish out a promise?

Unbelievable, incredible, out of this world promise that will be fulfilled, not only by the birth of my Isaac and earthly descendants, but by bringing Jesus into the world and by bringing Gentiles into the family of Abraham! How can He come and bring the promise that has such a great scope to Abraham and dish it out to Abraham? Do you think He has done it loosely, falsely, lightly? Did He sit there and think, “Well, let me play with Abraham. This poor old guy doesn't have a child. I'll go play with him and tell him all kinds of stuff that He’ll feel good. Let Me thrill his heart by giving promises.” No, Abraham was not thrilled. He was bewildered. He was laughing. He was questioning, how can this happen? Why did God come and give the promise?

Abraham decided, if what I believe about God is right, if He's omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, if He’s righteous, the God of truth, if He’s holiness. If He is the God who’s everlasting and if He’s a God who’s good and God who’s full of love, God who knows everything from the beginning to the end, all knowledgeable, then He knows me. He knows I'm 100 years old. He knows my wife is 90 years old. He knows the world says it can't be done. He knows that the doctor said it can’t be done. He knows all these things yet He came and told me this. He could not have told me this lightly, loosely, or falsely. That's first conclusion after He meditated upon it.

The second conclusion is, if God is who He is, after meditation, after finding out and understanding who God really is, if God is who He is, then because He’s an unchangeable God, nothing can change Him. He's the same yesterday, today and forever. He does not change His mind. So, He has given a promise very purposefully, planning, scheming and purposing, He has given the promise, God of great wisdom has given the promise, all powerful God who can do it has given the promise, and He will not at any cost change His mind. That’s the second conclusion.

There's a wonderful verse in Titus chapter 1 and verse 2. If you’re reading in Tamil, it's verse 3. It says, a God who cannot lie. Tamil Bible says, God who does not lie. But English Bible says God who cannot lie. “Is there anything too hard for the Lord?” Yeah. To lie is very hard for the Lord. God who cannot lie. He cannot lie. I tell you, my friend, when you look at the promises of God, like, “I will never leave you nor forsake you, My presence will go before you” and all these things When you look at the promises of God from His word, that He will meet your needs, that He will heal you, He will deliver you, He will bless you, He will bless the work of your hands, you look at the promises of God, you need to not just take that promise and just look at it, but consider God's nature, that He's good, He’s truth, He’s holy, He cannot lie. He is righteous. He’s everlasting, He’s omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent. So, everything He says is doable. Whatever He says is possible.

When you look at promises of God, you need to look at it like that. Knowing when you will be born, what problems you will go through, and what you will face in life, He has given these promises here. He knows just like He knew Abraham's problems. So, put your prayer request in your pocket. He already knows. Before you tell Him, He knows. Before you make the request, He knows, He already knows. And He has made the promises. And not only He knows and He's made the promises, not only has He not loosely, lightly or falsely stated these promises, not only does He not change His mind, thirdly, He’s able to do what He has promised. There is nothing that He cannot do.

Now, some of these politicians, may be well intentioned, but sometimes they're not able to do. They'll tell you, “Because of the alliance, because of this,” they'll give some reason. They have thousand reasons. God has no reasons. If He says He will do it, He will do it. He is not in alliance with anybody. He's not in alliance with the devil. He says He will do it; He’ll do it. He knows He can do it. He is all powerful. He’s almighty. He is full of goodness, truth, holy, righteous. He says He will do it, and He will do it.

So, faith doesn't become weak, faith does not stagger, faith becomes strong. How? This is the process by which faith becomes strong. This is what happened to Abraham. He began to consider the fact of who had given him the promise. That He who had promised is able to also perform. The one who has promised is not just a man, He will not fail. He considered Him who had promised and came to the conclusion that He can do it. And that's what faith is all about. When you consider His promise, when you begin to understand that He is good, He’s able and He is almighty, and He’s a God who's all wise, that He will do what He has said then, in spite of all the contrary circumstances, you will stand in faith on the promises of God. And those promises of God become reality in your life. That is faith. You want to know what faith is? That's what faith is all about. Faith is not just biting your teeth and, “I'm hoping that something good will happen.” No, no. Faith is meditating, considering, looking at God's word, looking at His goodness, righteousness, being convinced, been fully persuaded, being convinced of His ability to do things and standing on the word in spite of all the contrary circumstances. That is faith. And that faith will move mountains, will achieve great things.

God bless you.

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