Abraham was a great man of faith and a great example for us today. We know that he was promised that through his seed all nations of the earth woudl be blessed and that he would be the father of many nations. While Abraham believed God, he still had a long wait and did not see much of what he waited for. This is a message of hope for believers who are waiting on God’s promises.

ROBERT >> This morning we want to continue to look at Abraham, the father of the faithful. Last week we noticed that Abraham was called the father of the faithful because he was one who believed in God, who responded to God’s call in obedience. But today we want to see how that Abraham also learned to wait on the promises of God. Now, I know waiting is sometimes very hard; but Isaiah said in chapter 40 verse 31 that those who wait on the Lord shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

SINGING>> Speaking the truth, speaking the truth, speaking the truth, speaking the truth in love.

ROBERT >> If you’ll remember last week when we were talking about Abraham the father of the faithful, we learned that he was called by God. We read about it in Acts chapter 7 and Genesis chapter 12, how he was called to go out of his homeland of Ur where he was born and where he had lived for 70 years into the land of Canaan. And coming to the land of Canaan, God had promised him to receive an inheritance, a possession from God that neither he, nor Isaac, nor Jacob ever possessed; but it was possessed in time by their descendants during the days of Joshua. We also learned that when Abraham was called and he obeyed by faith, that he went out.

Imagine leaving your comfortable home, your family and your friends. But Abraham had to make a clean break with all past connections, especially that land of idolatry. He didn’t know where he was going, the Bible tells us. God led him into the land of Canaan; but it was a strange, a foreign land totally unknown to him. But Abraham took God at his word, not knowing where it might lead him. He gave up a certainty for an uncertainty; he surrendered the seen for the unseen. And that’s what faith is. And so as we think about Abraham the father of the faithful, today, I want you to see how he responded in obedience to the word of God. But now I also want you to see today that he learned to wait on God’s promises.

Once again I want to take you to the book of Hebrews, and we want to read there verses 9 through 16, because in these verses we see that after he obeyed the Lord, he had to learn to wait. Let’s read it together, Hebrews chapter 11 beginning in verse 9. “By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”

You’ll notice in these verses that when Abraham came into the land of Canaan, he did not set up a permanent structure there, but he lived in tents. He never intended to stay in Canaan. He never intended to make his home there. And we need to recognize like Abraham that this world is not our home, that we’re just passing through, as we often sing.

1 Peter 2:11, the Bible reminds us of this, and I want to read it to you today. 1 Peter 2:11, “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul.”

When we realize that this really is not our permanent home, that we have a better place on the other side, then we’re willing to let go of those fleshly temptations that come our way and to live for God instead of living for the flesh.

In fact, Colossians 3:20 reminds us that our citizenship is in heaven. It’s not upon this earth, but it’s in heaven. And so that’s what we’re waiting for. Abraham waited for the city of God. That’s what we read here in Hebrews 11:10. He was looking for a permanent home that God would prepare for him.

Perhaps some of you are familiar with the wonderful promise, the encouraging words of Jesus in John 14:1-3. You might remember in that passage that Jesus was about to go to the cross. He
his life was to be taken. He would be taken away from his disciples. And so he wanted to encourage them, as he knew they would face this great trial and this great discouragement.

In John chapter 14, I want to read this with you today. In these first three verses, look what Jesus said. “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.”

You see, Jesus said don’t worry, don’t be upset, don’t be afraid, because I’m going to prepare a place for you. And that’s exactly what Jesus did. Jesus went to the cross to pay the price for our sins so that we could be forgiven, so we could be reconciled to God. And after dying on that cross and being buried in the tomb, he was not left there, but God raised him up the third day. In time, Jesus ascended on into heaven to sit at God’s right hand, to pour out the power of his Holy Spirit to reveal and confirm the powerful message of the gospel that can save our souls. He prepared for us a home with God. And so you see today when we believe on him and when we obey his gospel, when we become followers of Jesus Christ, that we have a home prepared for us on the other side of death. Just as surely as he was raised up that third day, so we have the hope and the assurance of eternal life.

In 2 Corinthians 5:1 the apostle Paul tells us there that we have habitation from God, a building not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. I don’t know about you, but if I didn’t think that there was some kind of eternal reward on the other side of death, I think I would have given up a long, long time ago. But it’s that hope that sustains us in every trial, to read Revelation chapter 21 and chapter 22 of that beautiful and that wonderful place, a place where God would dwell among his people, and we’ll see him and we’ll be with him, and there’ll be no more crying and no more pain, no more sorrow, but everything will be brand new.

Now going back to Hebrews chapter 11, I want you to notice what it further says here, not just about Abraham, but about his wife.

Hebrews 11:11, “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 of the sky in multitude, innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.”

You see, at this time, Sarah, Abraham’s wife, was past the age of childbearing. And yet all the promises that God had made to him of a great nation, of a great name, of a great land, of a great blessing to all, all of those promises hinged on a child. If he didn’t have a child, he couldn’t have a great nation. And that great nation would bring about the great name that Abraham would have and the land that they would need to dwell in, and it would be through those children of Abraham, through his descendants that one would come into the world, Jesus Christ, to bless the whole world. Everything hinged on a child. But it seemed impossible now. Abraham was 100 years old. Sarah was 90 years old. When God first told Abraham and Sarah, you’re going to have a child, they both laughed.

You read about it in Genesis 17 and Genesis chapter 18. But believing against all hope, these two, Abraham and Sarah, were blessed with a son. And that’s the marvelous power of God, and that’s how we can put our faith in him that God can do things that we cannot even imagine, that God will always come through, that God will always do what he says he’s going to do. I want you to see especially this element of faith from Abraham and Sarah in Romans the 4th chapter, if you’ll turn over there with me for just a minute. In Romans chapter 4 beginning in verse 18 we have these words.

Paul wrote, ” 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 also able to perform; and therefore it was accounted to him for righteousness.

What a wonderful story, how that Abraham the father of the faithful and his wife were able to give birth to this son who would eventually bless all the nations of the world, and them believing in God even when it seemed impossible. I want you to know that this story was written for us, for those of us today who are Christians.

If you read on here in Romans 4, look at verse 23. Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification. Abraham was counted righteous. Righteousness was given to him, it was imputed to him, it was put to his account because of this wonderful, obedient, trusting faith that we see in him and his wife Sarah. And the Roman writer tells us it’s in that same kind of faith that God will bless us, that we too will be made righteous, made right with God through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Through Isaac, through Jacob, the sons of Abraham, his son Isaac, his grandson Jacob, and through Jacob’s twelve sons came the twelve tribes of Israel which turned into the great nation of Israel, which gave a great name, and to them was given a great land. But ultimately through that nation, through those descendants, the ultimate blessing came into the world: Jesus Christ.

Galatians 3:16 teaches us that this descendant, this seed that Abraham was looking for to bring this great blessing to the world was in fact Jesus Christ.

Let me read it to you here, Galatians 3:16. “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He does not say, And to seeds, as many; but as of one, And to your seed who is Christ.”

It’s in Jesus Christ that the blessings and the promises that were given to Abraham were ultimately fulfilled. And these blessings were not just for Abraham. They were for all people of all nations. If you look a little further here in Galatians 3, it tells us that very thing. Look with me in verse 26. ‘For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

And so that great promise made to Abraham that blessed him and his family ultimately found its fulfillment in Christ and has become a blessing to all the world, to all of those who would in faith be obedient to the gospel in baptism. Putting on Christ, they become a part of the one body of Christ of all nations of this world. We become heirs of Abraham; that is, we will receive the same inheritance that God promised to him, an eternal one that he has prepared for us through Jesus Christ. But you remember, Abraham and Sarah and all the others had to wait on those promises. He learned to wait on the promises of God, and so must we. Abraham, his wife, his son, his grandson, they all died. They all died without receiving the promises. Turn back with me to Hebrews chapter 11, and let’s read on.

Hebrews chapter 11, look at verse 13. These all died in faith, not having received the promises; but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland; and truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return.
But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country; and therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.

You see, they died without the promises, but their faith assured them. It assured them of those promises and enabled them to embrace those promises so that they never returned to their homeland of Ur, but they looked beyond the here and now towards a better, heavenly home with their God. And we must not lose faith, for we, too, must wait on the promises of God.

The psalmist often speaks of how we need to learn to wait on God. And I want to just read a couple of passages, Psalm 25:5, where the Bible says, “Lead me in Your truth and teach me; for you are the God of my salvation.”

On You I wait all the day. You see, the psalmist didn’t rush ahead, didn’t rush ahead of God doing his own thing in his own way on his own time, no. He was willing to let the Lord lead him to salvation, to deliverance. He learned to wait on the Lord.

Look at Psalm 27:14. ” Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart. Wait, I say, on the Lord.”

When we learn to wait on the Lord, we find courage and we find renewed strength. Even when we’re frightened and things don’t look so God good, we learn to wait on the Lord. Trusting God enough to wait on him, we will be courageous, and we will find the strength we need to continue on.

Look what the apostle Paul wrote in Colossians 3:1-4. He tells us that learning to trust in the Lord will give us a new perspective on things. When you became a Christian, when you were raised up out of the waters of baptism with Jesus Christ, you should have had a whole new outlook on life that would change your life.

In Colossians 3:1 he says, “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on the things of the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”

When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Right now he says don’t get too caught up in the here and now. Don’t get too caught up in the things of this world. He says you need to set your mind on things above. We need to look up to God, we need to look up to Christ. The time is coming, if we’ll wait, when Jesus will appear, and we’ll appear with him in glory. One other passage I think that will help us to get our perspective right when we’re going through the trials and difficulties of this life is 2 Corinthians 4:16. The apostle Paul writes, one who had been persecuted much for the cause of Christ, but continued on with great faith, and he has something to tell us about that. He says, Therefore we do not lose heart; even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.For our light affliction which is but for a moment is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.

Let me stop here for just a minute. Why was it that Paul didn’t lose heart?

He could see that the outward man was perishing, but he also could know that inside he was being strengthened, he was being renewed. He described his suffering as a light affliction for a moment. A lifetime of persecution, and yet for Paul it was still a light affliction for a moment. Why?

Because he was comparing it to the exceedingly eternal weight of glory that he would receive, that all these things were working for him. Look what he goes on to say here in this last verse, 18. While we do not look, he says, at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. There’s the very definition of faith. Faith does not look at the things that are seen, but the things that are unseen.

You see, we’ve got to look beyond this world to God, to Christ, to heaven. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.”

We haven’t seen God, we haven’t seen Christ, we haven’t
seen heaven, but we know they’re there because God has revealed himself to us not only in this world about us, but also in the word, the Bible that he’s given to us. And so we don’t look at the things that are seen, but the things which are unseen. We understand that everything around us, it’s just temporary, it’s not going to last; but the things of God will last forever.

And so Paul says here in 2 Corinthians 5:7, “For we walk by faith and not by sight.”

How are you walking in your life today?

What are you living for?

What is it that’s really important to you?

Do you have the faith of Abraham to not only respond to God’s call in obedience, as we learned last week; but now this week, to wait upon the Lord, to wait upon his deliverance, to wait upon his salvation, being faithful even unto death, as Jesus promised those who do so the crown of life, Revelation 2:10?

Will you be one of those who will keep faith so that when you die, you will be blessed, as Jesus said in Revelation 14:13? “Be faithful unto death, yes, but blessed are the dead who die in the Lord, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.”

There is a great reward for those who not only come to Christ through faith and being baptized into Christ, but who continue to live the life of Christ to the very end. I hope that you’re saved today, that you know Jesus Christ as your Lord and your savior. But whoever you are, we want to encourage you to follow Jesus Christ, and we hope you’ll let us know here at The Truth In Love how we can help you towards heaven today.

SINGING>> Years I spent in vanity and pride,
caring not my Lord was crucified,
knowing not it was for me he died on Calvary.
Mercy there was great,
and grace was free; pardon there was multiplied to me,
there my burdened soul found liberty, at Calvary.
Oh, the love that drew salvation’s plan;
oh, the grace that brought it down to man;
oh, the mighty gulf that God did span at Calvary.
Mercy there was great, and grace was free;
pardon there was multiplied to me,
there my burdened soul found liberty, at Calvary.
SINGING>> I know that my redeemer lives and ever prays for me.
I know eternal life he gives from sin and sorrow free.
I know, I know that my redeemer lives.
I know, I know eternal life he gives.
I know, I know that my redeemer lives.
I know that over yonder stands a place prepared for me; a home,
a house not made with hands most wonderful to see.
I know, I know that my redeemer lives.
I know, I know eternal life he gives.
I know, I know that my redeemer lives.

ROBERT >> I hope that you found today’s lesson helpful. And to help you in your continued study, we’d like to offer you a free copy of today’s lesson. Thankfully, members of churches of Christ make these materials available to our viewers absolutely free of charge. And all you have to do is contact us and let us know the name of the program you’d like to have a copy of. You can see the title of today’s program on your screen. Let us know the format in which you’d like to have it.

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SINGING>> Sing to me of heaven, sing that song of peace.
From the toils that bind me it will bring release.
Burdens will be lifted that are pressing so,
showers of great blessing o’er my heart will flow.
Sing to me of heaven, let me fondly dream of its golden glory,
of its pearly gleam.
Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall.
Sing to me of heaven, sing the sweetest song of all.
Sing to me of heaven tenderly and low till the shadows o’er me rise and swiftly go.
When my heart is weary, when the day is long, sing to me of heaven,
sing that old, sweet song.
Sing to me of heaven,
let me fondly dream of its golden glory,
of its pearly gleam.
Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall.
Sing to me of heaven, sing the sweetest song of all.

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