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Romans 4:18-25

GERITOL, DIAPERS AND THE WORD OF GOD

Intro: As we have watched the progression of Abraham's faith, I ma been amazed at this man's love for God and of his faith in the Lord. It is no wonder that Paul uses Abraham as the supreme example to prove that salvation comes about simply because of faith.

These last few verses of chapter four teach us the truth that we cannot depend on keeping the Law to save us. We cannot depend on our good works to save us. We cannot depend on anything external to save our souls. Paul's point here, as it has been throughout this chapter is that salvation is produced purely by faith!

In an effort to teach us how faith works, Paul is going to recall one of the greatest miracles in the entire Bible. I am referring to the birth of Isaac. What makes his birth so special? Well, his daddy was 100 and his mother was 90 when he was born. The Guinness Book of Records tells us that the oldest mother on record is one Ruth Alice Kistler. Mrs. Kistler gave birth to a daughter at the spry age of 57. There is one report of a woman named Ellen Ellis who was said to be 72 in 1776 when her child was born. However, compared to Sarah, these women look like teenagers!

All through this chapter, Paul has been appealing to the faith of Abraham to prove his point that men are saved by faith. Now, he is going to tell us what kind of faith Abraham had. It was faith in the promise of the birth of Isaac.. It was simply faith in what God said. It came down to faith in God that brought salvation to Abraham!

There are lessons that we can learn from this story concerning Abraham. Therefore, as we finish this fourth chapter of Romans this evening let's spend some time talking about Geritol, Diapers and the Word of God.

 

I. V. 18-20 ABRAHAM'S FAITH WAS WELL PLACED

A. V. 20 The Direction Of His Faith - Verse 20 tells us clearly that Abraham "staggered not at the promise of God." This simply means that Abraham did not waver! He believed, without reservation, in God's ability to keep His Word!

(Ill. What was the promise anyway? To answer that, we need only turn back to the book of Genesis 12:1-3; 13:14-18; 15:2-6; 17:15-22; 21:1-8. When these verses are taken as a whole, they teach the incredible truth that God supernaturally caused Abraham and Sarah to have a son named Isaac. Basically, Abraham directed his faith toward God, even when it seemed that what he had been promised was totally impossible!)

(Ill. This is the bottom line! It all boils down to whether or not you want to believe God. Whether it is in salvation, or in any area of life, the results of your faith will always be determined by the direction of your faith. Faith that is placed in God is faith that will always be rewarded!)

B. V. 18 The Duration Of His Faith - When the promise was first given to Abraham, he was 75 years old. Even then, it must have seemed impossible. However, when the promise was last confirmed in chapter 17, Abraham was 99 years old. It must have really looked impossible by then! Yet, his faith did not waver! The Bible tells us that Abraham "believed" God. This word is in a tense that suggests that he believed God when he received the promise and he kept on believing until the promise was fulfilled. That is the kind of faith that sees mountains moved!

(Ill. Let me just encourage some of you who have been waiting on the Lord to move in your life. He hasn't forgotten about you! If He has made you a promise, then you can count on that promise being fulfilled in His time. Don't give up, don't despair, but trust in the Lord and He will bring it to pass!)

C. V. 18-20 The Determination Of His Faith - There are three truths revealed about the faith of Abraham that serve as an encouragement to those who must live their lives in dependence upon the Lord.

1. V. 18 He Refused To Listen To Reason - Notice, "hoped against hope". Abraham had to have had his eyes on One greater than himself. If his eyes were on his circumstances, then he had every reason to doubt that the promise would be fulfilled. If that we any of us, we would say things like, "I'm just too old!"; "Sarah's all shriveled up like a prune, she's just too old."; "We've tries to have a baby since we were both young, why should it work now?"; "I mean, it's a physical impossibility!" Apparently, Abraham refused to dwell in the negative. God had given him a promise, and that was enough for him! What a lesson for you and me!

2. V. 19 He Refused To Look At Reality - Abraham refused to look at his situation, his eyes were on the promise of God. Can you imagine this old couple as they prepared for the birth of their son?

(Ill. Dr. Ray Pritchard gives this possible chronology of the 25 years between the time the promise was given and the promise was received.

76 - Buys a crib

78 - Makes a list of possible boy names

80 - Orders a supply of super-absorbent Pampers

85 - Goes hunting while Sarah's friends give her a baby shower.

86 - Puts up wallpaper in the babies room

90 - Subscribes to New Parent magazine

93 - He and Sarah start Lamaze classes

96 - Drives a practice run to the hospital

98 - Packs the suitcase and sets it by the tent door

99 - Scratches his head and says, "I wonder if God was just kidding me."

(Ill. Did he doubt? Sure he did, he was only human! In Genesis 17:17-18, Abraham laughed when he heard the news that a baby would be born. Surely he and Sarah felt that the promise was more like a cruel joke being played on two old people to make them look stupid. Yes he doubted, but he acted on his belief! Does that make sense? Faith is not 100% certainty! Faith is belief mixed with unbelief, but action is taken on belief! When we et the doubts win, that is not faith. When we trust God's Word, in spite of our doubts and act on it, that is faith! Abraham was a man who believed and doubted at the same time, but he acted in faith!

How was his faith revealed? He changed his name! His name in the beginning was "Abram" this name means "Exalted Father." When he received the promise from God, he changed his name to "Abraham", which means "The Father Of A Multitude." Many probably thought he just being a silly old man, but God saw it as an act of the deepest faith! Abraham certainly has his doubts, but he did not let them sidetrack him. He kept on for God and won the victory!

What does all that say to us? Faith is a battle. Faith is a struggle. There will be doubts and there will be times when we will feel like giving up to those doubts, but real faith never gives up. It always rests in the knowledge that God will do exactly what He has promised to do!)

3. V. 20 He Refused To Lose The Reward - Abraham lived for 25 years with the knowledge that one day God would give him and Sarah a child. He knew it and he refused to let go of that truth. He obtained that promise because he responded to God's promise with an attitude of faith!

(Ill. I don't know what you need from the Lord this evening, but if you have His promise in the matter, then I challenge you to act on faith. Learn what faith is, Heb. 11:1. Learn that nothing else pleases the Lord, Heb. 11:6. Learn that anything less is sin, Rom. 14:23. After those lessons are learned, simply take God at His Word and hold on.)

I. Abraham's Faith Was Well Placed

II. V. 21-22 ABRAHAM'S FAITH WAS WELL PLEASED

A. V. 21a Pleased With God's Promise - His faith was pleased with the promises of God because he knew that they were as God as the God Who had made them. What I see is a man who did not look for reasons to doubt God. He simply took the Lord at His Word and praised God for the answer even though it was not yet visible. That is faith an that pleases the Lord.

(Ill. All I can say to you this evening is simply trust the Lord! He is as good as His Word. There was day when a man's word was his bond. That day is still here when it is in reference to the Lord our God. He will do all that He has promised to do!)

B. V. 21b Pleased With God's Performance - He knew that what God had promised to do, God was able to do. He did not look at the problem with one and downsize God with the other. He simply took the Lord at His word and knew that if God said it would be then God would see to it! That is why Abraham could take his teenage son Isaac to Mount Moriah willing to offer him as a burnt offering before the Lord. He knew that even is he did, God was able to raise him up again, Heb. 11:17-19.

(Again, I am telling you this evening that you can count on God! He is still as able to move in power as He ever has been. He is still God this evening, Eph. 3:20. Here is God's testimony to Himself - Gen. 18:14!)

C. V. 22 Pleased With God's Plan - Abraham's faith was well please with the Lord because the Lord took the faith of this old man and credited his account in Heaven with righteousness. Put another way, God saved the soul of Abraham because he took God at His Word!

(Ill. God's plan for Abraham is still God's plan for you and me this evening. He just wants us to take Him at His Word and act on His promises as if they were real, which they are!)

I. Abraham's Faith Was Well Placed

II. Abraham's Faith Was Well Pleased

III. V. 23-25 ABRAHAM'S FAITH WAS WELL PRESERVED

A. V. 23-24 Preserved As A Promise - We are told here that the promise was not just to impute righteousness to Abraham, but also to everyone who exercised faith. Not just any faith, but saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

(Ill. There is a lesson here about salvation. Abraham acted on the light he had received and was declared righteous by God. He was saved by faith, just the same as any person is in our day. However, the object of our saving faith is different than that of Abraham. Salvation has always been by grace through faith, however, Abraham took God at His Word concerning the birth of Isaac, the future multitudes, and that every family on earth would be blessed and God accepted that as saving faith. Abraham believed in the promises of God! For us to be saved, we have to react to the light that we have been given as well. However, it in not enough just to believe in God or even in His promises. Now, the light we have received has revealed that Jesus Christ is the Way to God. If we are going to be saved, then it isn't merely faith, but faith in Jesus and His sacrifice that saves the soul, Acts 4:12; Acts 16:31; John 14:6. Your faith is in something this evening. Is it in Jesus and him alone?)

B. V. 25 Preserved As A Person - The promise boils down to one Man: Jesus Christ. He is the central focus of every promise that has ever been given. He is the One through Whom all the nations of the world will be blessed. He is the One Who dies on the cross and rose from the dead. He is the One who paid our sin debt and rose from the dead to be our Savior. He is the focus of faith. If He is not, then that faith is dead!

(Ill. Our faith stands upon two great pillars of truth. They are:

1. Jesus died for our sins.

2. He arose from the dead.

Rom. 10:9-10; 1 Cor. 15:3-4

If you can believe this, and can place the totality of your faith in those truths, then you can be saved! Otherwise, there is nothing but Hell for you.)

Conc: With all the honesty that your heart possesses, can you truly say that you are trusting the Lord Jesus Christ alone for your soul's salvation? Paul's conclusion to this section of Scripture makes it clear that nothing else, or no one else will work. Salvation must come through saving faith in Jesus Christ. Abraham believed and was saved. It wasn't works. It wasn't Law. It wasn't circumcision. It was faith then and it is faith now. Therefore, where is your faith?




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