1/11/17 - Pastor Steve Kilpatrick
The ‘Faith’ Champion!! Who is that in your mind? Who in your experience has displayed the most faith in their lives? Is it a family member, a friend, a really old person, a bible hero, a famous preacher, a saint, an historical figure?
Perhaps we should go to the ‘faith’ chapter in the Bible – Hebrews 11 - to find our Faith Champion. Now as a competitive person I like to assign points for good performances! How should we do it here? Well obviously the more that is written about the person in this faith chapter the higher they must go on the Faith Champions ladder. Right!? Surely the most points on the ladder tells us the champion. So if we assign points to these Hebrews 11 characters based on the number of verses written about them we see a ‘champion’ emerge. So by my calculations here is the faith points ladder:
Abraham - 12 verses and therefore - 12 points
Moses - 5 verses and therefore - 5 points
Rahab - 1 verse and therefore - 1 point
Jacob 1 point
Joseph 1 point
Noah 1 point
David ½ point
Samson ½ point
Abraham must be the Faith Champion of the Bible!!
But wait! Does this title sit well with him when we look at how he did in Genesis 12 verses 20-30? Abraham feared for the safety of his beautiful wife and himself and did not trust God with this fear. Instead he deceived Pharoah and passed his wife off as his sister. He lied. That does not seem to be the actions of man whom we might call a Faith Champion!
And look! He does not show much trust in God when he was promised a son and then when there was a delay in this child arriving he tried his own way and had a baby by his wife’s servant girl. Where’s the Faith of our Champion here?
Abraham’s faith seemed to fail him badly here, so how was it that God was able to count Abraham as ‘the friend of God’ (2 Chronicles 20:7) and a ‘Faith Champion’ (Hebrews 11). We see why in a wonderful verse in Genesis 15:6: And he believed the LORD, and He counted it to him as righteousness.
It was indeed the simple belief of this goat- and sheep-herd called Abraham (from the region of todays Iraq) that God counted for righteousness. More than this it was the fact that Abraham believed God not just believed in God that caused him to be counted righteous.
Andrew reminded us last Sunday that there are two levels of faith: Believing in God, and …………Believing God. There is a world of difference between the two. ‘Believing in God’ is giving mental assent to the existence of God, whereas believing God suggests an implicit trust in the eternal ‘ I am’, and a confident and assured trust in God who is present, active and intervening in my life in a gracious manner. It is faith alone which enables me to ‘know’ God on a daily basis, experience His saving grace and to have a sure hope of eternity.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works. Ephesians 2:8-9
What freedom and release must there have been for Martin Luther when he discovered the marvellous truth of Romans 1:17. The just shall live by faith. My faith in Christ alone makes me righteous before God. Nothing else. There is nothing more to be done. Faith Alone!! Sola Vide. Faith justified Abraham. Faith in Christ places me in right standing before Almighty God. Thank you God.