Abraham was tested, and it was an incredibly difficult test! But he passed the test, giving us a great example and a wonderful message related to the cross.

ROBERT >> Today we want to continue to take a look at the faith of Abraham. As we noted in the last two weeks, he was called the father of the faithful. Why? Because he responded in obedience to God’s call, but also because he learned to wait on the promises of God. But today I want you to see how the faith of Abraham was what made it possible for him to pass God’s test.

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

ROBERT >> The last two weeks, we have noticed how that Abraham’s faith was demonstrated in answering God’s call to come out of the land of Ur into the promised land of Canaan. It was his obedience that demonstrated his faith. But you remember Abraham, nor his son Isaac, nor his grandson Jacob inherited that land. It was hundreds of years later before his descendants would come into the land of Canaan. But these great men of faith like Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, they looked beyond the here and now to a greater promised land of heaven. In that we see again their faith. Faith always obeys God’s call, and faith will wait on God’s promises. But I want you to notice today how that Abraham’s faith also enabled him to pass God’s test.

Let’s read about it again from Hebrews 1117-19. Here’s what the Bible says: “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, In Isaac your seed shall be called,” concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense.

Yes, Abraham was told to sacrifice his only son of promise. What faith. What trust. God would raise him up, Abraham thought. But Isaac was not raised literally, but figuratively.

How?

Let’s go back to Genesis chapter 22 and read about the story together. And I want to begin reading here at the very first verse, where the Bible says, “Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, Abraham! And he said, Here I am.”

You see, God was going to test Abraham’s faith. And Abraham was a willing subject. He was willing to take God’s test.

In verse 2 it reads, “Then he said, Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there was a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”

Remember that Abraham loved Isaac. And so this was a tremendous sacrifice that he was making. And yet look at verse 3. “So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.”

You see, Abraham did not hesitate to do what God told him to do. He rose up early that very morning to make preparations for the sacrifice of his only son, the son of promise.

In verse 4 it says, “And on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said to his young men, Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.”

I want you to notice here in verse 5 he said, We will come back to you. He was going to sacrifice his son on the mountain, but he also believed that they both would come back.

We read on in verse 6, “So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together. But Isaac spoke to Abraham his
father, and said, My father!And he said, Here I am, my son. And then he said, Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”

Where is the lamb for a burnt offering?

That was a good question. Of course Abraham knew that God was wanting him to sacrifice his son. And he was going to do it. As you read on in verse 8, Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for aburnt offering. And so the two of them went together. Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.”

Let me stop right here for just a moment. Can you imagine taking your son up on the mountain to offer him as a sacrifice upon the altar?

And can you imagine being that son, and what he must have felt and what he must have been thinking as he was laid there on the wood on that altar?

But we see here that Abraham indeed passed the test of faith. Look at verse 11. “But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, Abraham, Abraham! And so he said, Here I am. And he said, Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”

Yes, Abraham’s faith passed the test. And when we truly believe in God and we trust him, like Abraham we will obey God no matter what he might ask us to do, and even though we may not always understand. It’s in this way that God knows that we truly believe in him.

In verse 13 and verse 14 we have these words: “Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in the thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. And Abraham called the name of the place, the Lord will provide; as it is said to this day, In the mount of the Lord it shall be provided. You see, God provided a substitute for the man of faith. Abraham offered his son Isaac. He raised the knife and was about to slay him when God stopped him and made a substitute for him. It was a ram caught in the thicket.”

Here in this we see the gospel of Jesus Christ, howthat all of us, like Isaac, are offered on the altar of death, of judgment for our sins.

The Bible tells us in Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

I know I have sinned. We’ve all sinned. And thus, we all deserve to die spiritually, to be separated from God because of our sin. That’s what sin does according to Isaiah 59:1-2. It separates us from God. That’s how horrible sin really is. But because of Jesus Christ, we don’t have to suffer that death. We don’t receive what we deserve. God has mercy on us. He shows grace towards us. Like that ram with the horns in the thicket, our Lord and savior Jesus Christ, his head was once encircled by thorns. He poured out his blood. He died in our stead. He has become our substitute.

In 2 Corinthians 5:21 the apostle Paul said, “Him who knew no sin was made to be sin for us, that we may become the righteousness of God through Him.”

You see, there in that passage we’re reminded that we have a substitute in Jesus Christ. The one who knew no sin, Paul wrote. That’s Jesus Christ. He was the one that stepped out of heaven, out of the glories of heaven, who left his Father and became one of us. The Son of God was conceived and brought forth by the power of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the virgin Mary. He was the Son of God, but he was also in the flesh. He was like us.

“He became flesh and dwelt among us,” John said in John 1:14.

And as he grew up and came to learn the difference between right and wrong, the Bible tells us that, He was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin. Jesus Christ obeyed the Lord in every way. He didn’t give in to temptation, he didn’t give in to sin. And having lived that perfect life, then, he could be offered as a sacrifice for our sins.

The Bible tells us in Hebrews 5:8-9 that, “Having learned obedience through the things which He suffered, being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation to all those who obey Him.”

Yes, Jesus Christ is our savior because he is that perfect one. “He is that sinless one who did not deserve to die, but died for our sins,” 1 Corinthians 15:1-4.

That’s the good news of the gospel, that we can be saved through Jesus Christ. And we see that picture right here in Abraham offering his son Isaac and the ram being substituted for him.

Yes, you see, Abraham actually serves as the antitype of our heavenly father when he entered into the heart of John 3:16. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

For Abraham so loved God that he gave his only son. It’s this conviction and trust and obedience of faith that will ensure we, too, pass the test. There are many in the world today who are touting this idea, just believe, just believe. It’s a mere saying faith, it’s a mere professing faith, but it’s not a convicted, trusting, obedient faith. That’s the kind of faith that will save, and that’s the only kind of faith that will pass the test. James writes about this in James the 2nd chapter. I want us to look together here for just a moment.

James chapter 2. He begins in verse 14 talking about this saving faith. “He says, What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?”

That kind of faith certainly cannot. But that’s not the kind of faith that Abraham had.

Look at James chapter 2 beginning in verse 21. “Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar?”

To be justified means to be made right with God. And James tells us that this justification came by works. Not the works of merit. It’s not that he earned it. It’s not that he deserved it. But in his faith, he was obedient to God. And it’s in that obedience of faith that he found his justification.

It says in verse 22, “Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?”

You see, our faith is not complete until it is expressed and demonstrated in obedience. I love how the apostle Paul put it in Galatians 5:4 when he spoke of the kind of faith that saves. There were many in that context that were relying upon circumcision, a cutting of the flesh, to save them; but Paul tells them the thing that avails for salvation, the thing that is really effective for salvation in Galatians 5:6 is faith working through love. When you see what God has done for you through Jesus Christ, you can’t help but to see his love and to love him; and believing on that, believing on the cross of Jesus Christ, trusting that for your salvation then, you need to be obedient to the gospel. Like Abraham believed that God would provide, so we must believe that God has provided for our salvation through Jesus Christ.

We cannot earn it, we do not deserve it; but believing, we may receive it in obedience to the gospel.

I want to read this passage here in James chapter 2 as it sums it up in verse 23 and 24. And the scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. And
he was called the friend of God.”

You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. Do not be deceived by the idea that you can be saved before and without obedience to God’s commandments. You must believe in his promises, but you must obey his commandments. That’s what Abraham did, and that’s what we must do today. Trusting in the sacrifice of the cross of Christ at Calvary, we are obedient to the gospel.

“For by grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast,” Ephesians 2:8-9.

Verse 10 tells us then that we are God’s workmanship, we’re his masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus unto good works.

When our faith moves us to obey the gospel of Jesus Christ, then God makes us a new creation and he gives us a new life. If any man be in Christ he is a new creation. Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

So I want to ask you this morning, have you obeyed the gospel of Jesus Christ?

You might be saying, Robert, how can I obey the gospel?

I believe the gospel. I believe that Christ died for us, that he was buried, that he was raised; but how can I obey the gospel? Well, the Bible teaches us that a true, believing faith will turn away from sin in repentance. You see, seeing what Jesus did for us, how that he died for our sins, how can we do anything else but turn away from those sins, repent, to make that change of heart that will lead to a change of life?

Jesus said, “Except you repent, ye shall all perish,” Luke 13:3.

Repent and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that you may receive times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord, there in Acts 3:19. But not only must our faith move us to turn away from sin, but it must also cause us to be willing to say with our mouth, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. It’s that confession that we must make that also is necessary in coming to Christ for salvation.

You might remember the words of the apostle Paul in Romans 10:9-10. Let me read it to you now. That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. “For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

That’s right. If we really believe in our heart that God raised him up, then why would we not confess that, declare to the whole world our faith in Jesus as the Christ that is our Lord and our savior, the Son of God?

There’s a beautiful story about someone coming to Christ in Acts the 8th chapter: The Ethiopian eunuch who was coming from Jerusalem back to his home in Ethiopia when Philip the evangelist was sent by God to him. And as he was reading out of the book of Isaiah, he didn’t understand what it was talking about, and so Philip began from that very scripture to preach to him about Jesus Christ. You see, Isaiah had prophesied many years ago that Christ would come, and that he would pay the price for our sins.

Isaiah chapter 53, “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.”

That’s the very chapter that the Ethiopian eunuch was reading. And so Philip told him about Jesus and how he became our substitute, how he died in our place so we could be saved. And the Bible tells us that “when they came to some water, the Ethiopian said, Here’s water. What hinders me from being baptized? And it was at that time that they commanded the chariot to stand still. And he said, If you believe, you may. And the Ethiopian said, I believe Jesus Christ is the
Son of God. And it was upon that confession of faith that they both went down into the water and he baptized him. And then they both came up out of the water.”

And the Bible says the eunuch, the Ethiopian went on his way rejoicing. You see, coming to Jesus Christ involves a faith that will not only turn away from sin and confess Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God, but will also be baptized into Christ.

Baptism is a demonstration of our faith in the death and the burial and the resurrection of Christ. Paul explained in Romans 6 that we’re baptized into Christ Jesus. And “when we’re baptized into Christ Jesus, he says we’re baptized into his death.”

We identify with his death. Just as he died for our sins, we die to sin. Just as he was buried, he says we’re buried by baptism into death, and that like as Christ was raised from the dead, even so we should walk in newness of life.

Yes, in baptism we obey the gospel. Trusting in Christ, having turned now in our hearts from sin, having confessed Jesus Christ as the Son of God, we give ourself to him. We die to sin. The old sinner is buried. He’s cleansed. He’s made whole. His spirit is renewed. He becomes a child of God, raised up with Jesus Christ now to live a new life.

God help us all to, as the scripture says in Romans 4:12, “walk in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had.”

To walk in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had tells us that faith is more than just something we’re saying. It’s something that we do. There are steps of faith that we must take to come to God through Jesus Christ: Believe on Christ; confess him as the Son of God; and turning from your sins, give yourself to him wholly and completely in the waters of baptism so you can begin that new life. And having done so, don’t forget that we must continue to be devoted in faith to Jesus Christ. And being faithful unto death, as he promised, he’ll give us the crown of life. And I hope that whoever is listening today, if you’re ready to come to Christ or we can help you, that you’ll let us know here at The Truth In Love how we can help you towards heaven today.

SINGING>> Unto the hills around do I lift up my longing eyes.
Ohwhence for me shall my salvation come?
From whence arise?
From God the Lord doth come my certain aid,
from God the Lord whom heaven and earth hath made.
From every evil shall he keep thy soul, from every sin.
Jehovah shall preserve thy going out, thy coming in.
Above thee watching, he whom we adore shall keep thee henceforth,
yea, for evermore.

SINGING>> All to Jesus I surrender, all to him I freely give.
I will ever love and trust him, in his presence daily live.
I surrender all.
I surrender all.
All to thee, my blessed savior, I surrender all.
All to Jesus I surrender.
Lord, I give myself to thee.
Fill me with thy love and power, let thy blessing fall on me.
I surrender all.
I surrender all.
All to thee, my blessed savior, I surrender all.
ROBERT >> Thanks for watching our program today. We’d love to hear from you. So let me encourage you to contact us with your questions, comments, or requests at The Truth In Love, P.O. Box 865, Hurst, Texas 76053.

You may e-mail us at requests@ttil.tv.

Or call our toll-free number, 800-819-2966.

And please visit our web
site at www.ttil.tv.

Remember, all our materials and services are absolutely free of charge. We just want to do what we can to help us all towards heaven. So let us know how we can help you, and please join us next time right here on The Truth In Love.

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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