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The Life of Faith 05

Faith and Vision

Genesis 15 Thursday, October 01, 1998

Introduction:

I don’t think we fully appreciate the importance of having a vision or a

dream for our lives

.

“Where there is no vision the people perish.” When people don’t have a life vision, a goal for which they strive and work they drift. Discouragement becomes a daily companion.

See it in teenagers

The aren’t in

sports, they don’t do band, they aren’t particularly academic. There is nothing they seem bent toward. Without the Lord in their lives they start to wander into destructive patterns. Trouble is coming.

who are cut off from the groups.

See it in young adults

, disillusioned and already stuck.

Don’t seem

to know where to go next or what to do.

In mid-life .
In mid-life
.

So much you thought you would do and then it doesn’t

happen. Hard for some to refocus and start with a scaled down dream. Or to redeem and retool. Often slide into crisis.

In senior adulthood

.

Maybe the vision for the children is less than

expected. Looking back wonder where all that time went. No real dream. No vision. Drift from day to day. Lonely.

See it in institutions and companies

.

No real sense of what they are

trying to do.

See it in sporting teams.

 

See it in churches

where they become content to drift along with the

same mundane routine and never try to do anything great for the kingdom.

Where there is no vision the people perish

. All around you today people

are struggling because they either never had a vision or they lost the one

they had. No mark to hit . No target to aim for. to reach.
they had.
No mark to hit
.
No target to aim for.
to reach.
No bar to jump . No goal
No bar to jump
. No goal

We must have a vision for our lives, our families, and our church.

one we drift

Without

Let’s talk about faith and vision

. I want to admit up front that my goal in

speaking is to encourage you. Allow God refresh your dream. Maybe even reshape it. But give it back.

God wants us to have vision.

DAYS,' God says, `THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT UPON ALL MANKIND; AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS;

`AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST

AC 2:17
AC 2:17

Exegesis of Genesis 15.

VERSE 1
VERSE 1

“After these things.”

Refers back to chapter 14

army of Sodom. In the process, Abraham’s nephew, Lot is captured and carried into captivity in Damascus. Far to the north. Abraham mustered his men and pursued the victorious kings. Abraham defeated the kings

, “After these things.”

What things?

. A four king alliance had defeated a five king

and rescued Lot.

Upon returning to the promised land he did two things:

first he gave a tenth of everything to Melchezidek a priest of Salem.

Melchezidek is a type of Christ.

So the image is of obedience to God in

his possessions.

Next he refused the king of Sodom’s offer

to keep the

remainder of the spoils for himself. Abraham said he had made a covenant to the Lord to give everything back. See in this the great faith of that man of God. His word to the Lord meant more than his stuff.

After those great victories, physically against the kings, and personally

against temptation, the word comes to Abraham, “Do not fear

.”

Odd

words for a man who had just defeated four kings. Don’t you think.

A couple of points.

FIRST, often the greatest discouragement come on the heals of a victory

.

Big let down. Accomplish something only to discover that it didn’t bring the relief you expected. Score a big win and then battle depression. Common.

SECOND, and more importantly, realize that some fears are tougher than

others

Abram’s fear was in an

AREA HE COULDN’T CONTROL:

childlessness. Those are the big fears. The “out of control situations.”

Fight an army? No problem. But this one was different. Abraham

couldn’t strategize.

circumstances.

He couldn’t manufacture or manipulate

All he could do was wait and pray

. That is the most

difficult kind of fear. Will God come through?

Important principle for the vision. It must be from God. When it is it will be God sized. And it must ultimately be achieved by God through us.

WE ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE FINISHED PRODUCT.

WE

ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR FAITHFULNESS.

 

Notice God’s word. It is for us. “

And

usually it has to do with facing a fear and taking decisive action. Joshua was repeatedly told, “Be strong and courageous.” In those areas he is referring to control issues. Courage was needed to follow Moses and move the people forward.

There are times when God counsels us to do that.was needed to follow Moses and move the people forward. Fear not.” Notice HE DIDN’T SAY,

Fear not.”
Fear not.”

Notice HE DIDN’T SAY, “BE

VERSE 4,
VERSE 4,

From your own body shall be your heir

.” So the heir would be

from Abram.

later.

But it affirms that it won’t be a servant or distant relative.be your heir .” So the heir would be from Abram. later. would be a son.

would be a son.

Mark that because this will create tremendous problems

.”

Leaves open the avenue for

It

He doesn’t say, “And from Sarai

THEN GOD EXPANDS THE VISION

. Go outside, lie down and look up.

VERSE 5 ,
VERSE 5
,

Genesis 22:17. Compares it to sand of the sea. Stars of heaven too numerous to count. At the time

Put up a

Interesting insight.

they were countable.

telescope and the picture really comes into view. Billions. Like sand.

4,000 stars visible

to the naked eye.

But he wasn’t getting specific.

THIS IS PICTURESQUE LANGUAGE.

JUST LOTS MORE THAN YOU CAN IMAGINE

.

God is repeating what Abraham already knew.

This type of fear has a different need.

It applied to an area beyond

 

control.

Don’t need courage.

Nothing really to do.

WHAT HE IS

VERSE 6.
VERSE 6.

Abraham’s response: Abram believed.

This is a powerful

SAYING IS “TRUST ME.” “DON’T WORRY!”

 

important verse. It highlights the method of salvation. Belief in the promise of God. Reckoned it to him was a legal term. In New Testament Paul quotes this and demonstrates that this is the method of salvation. In

 

Abram’s reply exposed his

VERSE 2

.

Eliezer of Damascus.

A

servant in the home. No children.

This was a common practice when

ROMANS 4:3

he used an

accounting term

.

Accounted.

Credited his

their wasn’t an heir. This was his great grief

.

The vision for his life was

account. Imputed the righteousness of God. Our righteousness is not our goodness but God’s decree.

dissolving with each passing year.

His vitality was draining away and

Abraham knew that time was not his friend.

Soon it would be impossible

 

for him to have a child.

Sarah would go through menopause and that

When we struggle we must remember and allow God to remind us of his promises.

would be the end.

 

God speaks three things that you need to hear

Maybe your are on the

verge of drifting from your dream.

.

Maybe you already have

.

Let God

speak this to you tonight. I think it is important to understand that we are

not sure how God was speaking here.

W

as it face-to face?

I doubt it.

More likely he was speaking through the spirit in that still small voice. Notice it says, “the word of the lord came.” Word not person. Same way God speaks to you. And here is what he said:

I. Remember His Promise.

God began by re-affirming his promise. Ten years had passed since God originally spoke his promise to Abraham. Ten years of waiting and wondering. And questioning. In the process it was easy to doubt.

Abraham’s doubts turned to fear.

him of the promise.

Maybe God won’t.

So God reminds

Ruth Bell Graham, In Prodigals, “Suddenly the Lord said to me, “quit

Ruth Bell Graham, In Prodigals, “Suddenly the Lord said to me, “quit

studying the problems and start studying the promises.”

Graham, In Prodigals, “Suddenly the Lord said to me, “quit studying the problems a nd start

God’s promises must be remembered, and believed!

II. Remember His Work.

If you struggle to believe then this step is essential.

remember what he has done. out of Ur of the

pilgrimage. Look back and build your faith.

Look back and

, “I am the Lord who brought you

VERSE 7
VERSE 7

“ God was reminding him of the 10 year

A case for how this works is gymnastics. Notice the amazing things. How? How do they take those risks? How do they get those guys to do

those incredible things

Swing

. With billy in Gymnastics.

. Small incremental steps over a well padded floor.

The high bar is over a pit full of foam

out straight and let go. Move them up in skill and confidence. That is how God trains. Doesn’t dump the load.

With the disciples. Jesus said “follow me.” He didn’t tell them what that would mean.

Must remember the work of the Lord in our lives. Line out of the old

hymn, “

Come thou Fount,”

I come.”

 
1SA 7:12
1SA 7:12

here I raise mine ebenezer hither by thy help

Robert Robinson, a

student of Scripture, used that old Hebrew word to point the singer to a powerful truth.

Then Samuel took a stone and set it between Mizpah and

Shen, and named it Ebenezer, saying, " Then Samuel took a stone and set it between Mizpah and So often sing and miss

So often sing and miss the meaning.

Thus far the LORD has helped

Ebenezer comes from an Old Hebrew term “rock of remembrance.”

We must remember his work.

III. Remember the Vision.

VERSE 8 .
VERSE 8
.

settled the faith issue. Its

all right to be confused. We don’t have all the answers and that is not a requirement. Can believe heartily in God and still wonder. And that doesn’t give God ulcers.

This is not a lack of faith.

Verse 6
Verse 6

In this case God filled Abram with hope and vision.

VERSES 9-16

. Depicts an ancient ritual of moving into an intimate

covenant relationship. By the way, modern idea of a bride walking the center isle flows from this idea. Walking between the two families as Abraham walked between the heifer, goat and ram. Life in the blood. Death of the animals was the sacrifice.

VERSES 17-21

demonstrate how God is responsible for accomplishing

His purpose.

The smoke and fire are manifestations of God

.

See this in the Exodus.

Pillar of smoke and fire. Walking between demonstrates that God is taking full responsibility for the action.

God will do his work.

Beautiful promise for you when fear grips you and

you can’t see the way. Not how much you know or how good you are. It is how much God knows and how good He is.

You need to be reminded of the vision.

And notice the whole burden of the vision is on God. It comes from Him

God will do what he promised.

and he is the one that is responsible

.

So “DON’T FEAR.”

FAITH IS

TRUSTING GOD TO FINISH WHAT HE STARTED.

 

Out job is to relax and hang on.

Ill.

.

.

On June 30, 1859, 35-year-old Jean-Francois Gravelet - better

known as Blondin - walked the 335 m (1100 ft) separating the two banks of the Niagara River on a rope stretched 50 m (160 it) above the raging

waters of the Falls.

The precarious walk took 20 minutes When Blondin

finally reached safety, he was applauded by thousands of excited spectators. For Blondin it must have been an exhilarating moment - he had been in training since his acrobat

Not content simply to walk across, Blondin carried his business manager

Harry Colcord on his back

. According to Colcord, the episode was a

nightmare from beginning to end.

balance.
balance.

Six times Blondin nearly lost his

What tremendous faith in the tightrope

placing faith in Christ

walker.

That is the essence of

. Putting yourself on his back and then trusting him

to carry you across.

He assumes full responsibility for the success of the journey.

So don’t

fear. Hang on. And if necessary shut your eyes.

 

What is your life vision? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? What are you living for?

Need a vision. Must be from God. Must glorify God.

REMEMBER THE PROMISE.

REMEMBER THE WORKS.

 

REMEMBER THE VISION.