vs. 1-3- Faith is key
- Abraham- founder of Jewish nation.
- He was made right with God through his faith alone.
- If we were made right with God through how good we were, or our works, or how many good deeds we do... then it wouldn't be for the glory of God, but rather for OUR glory.
- Abraham was counted as righteous because of his faith.
- It is impossible to be saved by obeying the law. You can follow a thousand rules and still not KNOW God.
-Genesis 12:1-3, 13:14-17, 15:1-21, 17:4-14
- Hebrews 11
- Do you find yourself relying on your works to save you? Do you get caught up in the work and forget about the relationship?
- Have you taken the time to get to know God today? Have you sought His heart? Have you had a conversation today?
vs. 4-5 – The gift
- vs. 4 compares earning salvation to earning wages from work. Wages are not a gift, but they are earned. Something you have to work for. Grace however, works a little different. We gain our salvation simply by reaching out to take from the hands of God, the gift He has so mercifully provided. We cannot gain salvation through working our hardest. God offers salvation freely and openly. All you have to do is accept it.
- God is a forgiving God. He will always take you back if you will just repent.
- Don't worry that you don't have enough faith. Faith in Christ will always save you. Even an amount as small as a mustard seed.
- YOU can't save you. Christ saves you. He is strong enough to save us, regardless of how little faith you think you have.
- God loves you with all His heart. He went so far as to die for you so that He could offer you a free salvation and save you from the pits of hell. Just reach out and accept the gift.
- Matthew 19:16-24
- John 8:3-11
- Galatians 3:6-29
- Philippians 2:9-11
- Matthew 17:20
- Are you trusting God with your life?
- Are you placing your faith in His ability to save you?
- Do you accept this gift from Him?
vs. 6-8- Forgiven
- Are you happy today?
- David talks about those who have joy because they have been forgiven. Past sins erased. Out of sight, out of mind. They no more exist.
- David was guilty of many sins. Adultery, murder, lying... and yet God in His great mercy, forgave them all.
- When we turn our past over to God, guilt is relieved, and we have the amazing overwhelming joy of knowing that we are FREE! There are no debts left to pay.
- The record has been cleared by Christ.
- No sin is too great for Him to forgive. He is willing and able to forgive any and all.
- footnote in my study bible- “In view of the tremendous
price He paid on the cross, it is arrogant to think that there is any sin too great for Him to forgive.”
- Even though our faith is weak, our conscience is sensitive, and our memory haunts us, God's Word declares that sins confessed are sins forgiven.
- I John 1:9
- Matthew 9:1-8
- Matthew 26:27-29
- Luke 24:44-47
- Psalm 32, 38, 51
- Romans 6:19-23
- Do you think you're past forgiveness? That God won't forgive whatever you've done?
- Are you holding back because you think God won't accept you as you are?
- Do you want the joy that comes with knowing you're forgiven?
- Don't let Satan control your memory. Don't let him wiggle his way around your head. God declares that if we confess our sins, He will forgive us. Will you ask Him to cleanse you today? Will you let go of guilt and shame?
vs. 9-12- Equality
-God accepts you as you are. He takes all the imperfect things and through His own blood and spirit, makes you perfect in His eyes.
- Circumcision was an outward sign for the Jews that they had been accepted by God and that they were going to follow His commandments. But God accepted Abraham even before he had completed the outward sign. Our hearts just have to be willing to accept the gift of Grace...
-Circumcision, like baptism, was an outward sign that is
supposed to be a sign of an INWARD heart change.
- Faith is the key. Without faith, the outward sign means nothing. God's blessing comes through faith.
- footnote- “ceremonies and rituals serve as reminders of our faith as well as instruct new or young believers, but we should not think that they give us any special merit before God. They are outward signs and seals that demonstrate inner belief and trust. The focus of our faith should be on Christ and His saving work, not on our own actions.”
- Abraham is the father of those who have faith. Jew and Gentile alike. People of all nations, of all backgrounds, of all races, genders, social status. Faith makes us all equal under God.
- Acts 13:38-39
- Acts 15:8-11
- Ephesians 2:1-10
- II Timothy 1:8-10
- Titus 3:3-8
- Philippians 1:9-11
- Galatians 5:19-25
- Jeremiah 4:3-4
- Colossians 2:11-15
- What kinds of outward signs show that our hearts have been changed by Christ?
- A sermon or Sunday School lesson in my church lately was on the fruits of the spirit. If we are living in Christ and our hearts are in the process of being changed, those are the attributes that should start to appear in our lives. The point was made that some are harder to bear than others or we each have our weaker areas. Patience and self-control are hardest sometimes for me. (But through Christ, all things are possible. Ha ha.) It may be hard, but will you let God change your heart and your mindset so you can work on those areas where you are weak?
- So what fruits are bearing in your life? Is there something in your heart that needs to change or something in your life that God wants control of so you can bear more abundant fruit?
vs. 13-15- Promises and Faith
- God's promises to us to prosper us, to keep us, to help us are all based on our relationship with Him.
- Think of a friend you have. Now, if you JUST went to your friend when you needed help, or money, or were having a crisis... how solid of a relationship would you have? Would you really know your friend? Would you know their hopes, dreams, aspirations? Would you know their favorite food? Color? Would you be interested in them in any way except in whatever way was relative to yourself?
- God wants relationship. He doesn't want to be just a means to an end. He doesn't want to just be there when you desperately need something. He wants to be there in the highs and lows. To share the joys as well as help in the pains.
- When you have that relationship, God gives freely of His gifts. It's given because you are His friend. You are given a gift out of love.
- If God's promises were based on the law, then faith would have no place and the promise given to Abraham before the law was established, would be pointless.
- God's promises are meant for those of faith.
- Ok well... I was trying to find things that God has promised us as believers in the New Testament... and my Dake's has a list that goes on for forever. There's way over 200... so I'm going to list a few categories of promises and a reference or two for each... (Matthew 5 is the beatitudes—there's a lot of promises there too) So... God promises:
- Salvation/Forgiveness from Sin (Matthew 1:21, 6:14, Romans 3:23-25, 8:1-4)
- Heaven (Matthew 5:3, Luke 12:29-34)
- Spiritual help (Romans 8:26-28)
- Joy (I Peter 4:12-13)
- Indwelling of Christ (John 6:53-58)
- Holy Spirit (Luke 11:9-13, john 7:37-39, 14:12-21, 15:26-27)
- Eternal Love (I Corinthians 13:8)
- He'll never leave us (Hebrews 13:5-6)
- Rest (Matthew 11:28-30)
- Acts 13:38-39
- Romans 11:5-6
- Galatians 2:15-21
- Philippians 4:6-9
- Do you consider Jesus a friend?
- Have you tried listening to Him rather than carrying on a one sided conversation when you pray?
- Do you go to God when you're excited, or joyful, or great things are happening as well as in the low times? Are you sharing the highs with Him as well as the lows?
- Are you trusting God to do the best in your life? Do you have faith in His promises to you?
- The promise is received by faith. It is a free gift.
- If we have faith like Abraham, regardless of whether or not we live according to the law of Moses, we are certain to receive this gift of promise.
- Abraham was the father of all who believe because he believed in the almighty God who is all powerful.
- even when he had no reason to hope... Abraham hoped.
- God promised that he would be the father of many nations... and he kept hanging on to that promise... regardless of the fact that he was getting older and Sarah was past the age to have kids. He kept hoping.When we read about the promise given to Abraham, we get the impression that only a few years may have passed, but 25 years went by without receiving the promise.
- Abraham's faith never grew weak. He never wavered from his belief in the promise.
- He was convinced beyond the shadow of a doubt that God was able to do whatever He promised. Not even when God asked for Isaac's life did Abraham falter in his obedience.
- Because of this amazing faith, God counted Abraham as righteous... not just for Abraham's benefit... but also for us! This is our assurance that God will count us as righteous if we believe in Him.
- When we accept Christ as our Savior, an exchange takes place. We give Him our sins, and He forgives us and makes us right with God.
- Peace with God is possible only because Jesus paid the price for our sins through His death on the cross.
- Christ died and rose again to make us right with God... Do you believe that today?
- Romans 5: 6-19
- Hebrews 9:11-28
- II Corinthians 5:21
- Genesis 22:1-18
- Christ has laid down His life for you. The price has been paid. Do you believe it? Will you accept it?
- If you've already accepted it, how is your faith being reflected in your life? What fruits are you bearing from your heart?
- How is God working in your life? Are you allowing Him to work to His potential... or are you allowing only the minimum?
- How far are you willing to let God take you today? Will you trust with faith that He has the best in mind?
- If God asked you, like Abraham, to leave home, or leave your family, or go to a new place, would you have the faith to do it? Would you be willing to let God work in your life on a larger scale?