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Pastor Brant Seacrist - Riverside Baptist Church - Richwood, WV

January 14, 2018

"THE FATHER OF MANY NATIONS"

TEXT: Romans 4: 17 - 25
READING:  Hebrews 11: 1-19

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SUBJ: The operations of grace displayed in the faith of Abraham and the conclusions the Paul drew from these things and in which we rest as we see the realization of the faith of Abraham in Christ our Lord. The hope of Abraham is our hope as well.

AIM: That we may know the strengthening of faith as did Abraham and truly be identified as the just who walk by faith.

INTR: The fourth of Romans is essentially on justification by faith and that of Abraham in particular and from the things we read here we may arguably state that Abraham is the most significant figure in the bible next to our Lord Jesus Christ.
1. The unusual call of Abraham has ever arrested our attention as well as the amount of scripture that is centered around the Lord's dealings with him.
2. The unquestioning obedience of Abraham is the certificate of authenticity in his life (notwithstanding that there were times when he ventured into self-determination).
3. The ultimate display of faith in the offering of Isaac his and the distinction divinely given him as the "Father of us all."

THESIS: All other religions in the world and many perverted forms of Christianity look to men or themselves for justification and salvation. Only in the faith of Abraham and thus God-given faith looks to the righteousness of Christ and believes that it is He alone who has accomplished salvation.

I. The hope of Abraham embraced (vv. 18-22)
1. In verse 17, the belief of Abraham is characterized in two ways: that it is he who quickens the dead and who calleth those things which be not as though they were.
2. The experience of Abraham in believing God produced a most valuable commodity � the ability to believe when there is no reason to hope.
1) Webster's definition: "A desire for some good, accompanied with as least a slight expectation of obtaining it, or a belief that it is obtainable." This differs from wishing in that expectation is a factor.
2) Thus, we are reminded of: Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1
3. The thing hoped for here was huge that he would be the Father of many nations and all that he could see pointed to anything but that.
1) He was living in a strange land with no hope of conquest beyond its borders.
2) He had been rebutted at his own attempt to assure that he would have progeny.
3) Now both the physical condition of he and Sarah rendered childbirth impossible
4) (A thought here in v. 19 as to the consideration of his "body now dead" is that the word not shouldn't be there is a moot point if we see that either way it is his faith that prevails).
4. The thought of "staggering" is connected with the idea of doubting which Abraham did not (compare: But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. James 1:6).
5. The thought is rather that he "waxed strong" or grew strong in faith to the point that hope was now a reality to him and so in v. 21 he is found fully persuaded that God would fully and completely act on His promises. He was, and we must be fully vested in the promises of God!
6. And so should we grow in His grace an knowledge (2 Peter 3:18).
7. This is the nature of faith by which the imputed righteousness of Christ is received!

II. The faith of Abraham applied (vv. 23-24)
1. We might well read with great interest many accounts in Scripture without having a sense of direct involvement. (Joseph is a wonderful picture of Christ and we might at best be identified with his brothers). It is important to us, but we are not going to become a ruler in Egypt.
2. But, here our identity with Abraham is asserted most emphatically.
1) It was not written for his sake alone; that is, Abraham would not be the only one so justified by faith.
2) It is for us also! The importance of all the manifestations of grace to Abraham are important to us as we consider that we are not unlike him as to both call and salvation.
3. We would not lose sight of the fact that we must believe what and who Abraham believed
1) The resurrection of Christ is an essential to repentance and believing the Gospel in that
i. If He was raised, He must have been dead and
ii. If He was dead, there must have been a connected reason
iii. It is thus that we are brought to repentance in realizing that it was for us and Abraham that He died and rose again.
4. And so, in verse 25, the precious testimony of Abraham and that which he believed comes to fruition in Christ:
1) Who was delivered
i. Into the hands of men, to justice, unto death
ii. By Judas, by the Jews, by Pilate, into the hands of the Romans to die.
iii. By the Father unto divine justice to do with Him as it must if He is there for me (and he was not spared one iota of the suffering I deserve. Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Acts 2:23.
2) Who was raised again for our justification
i. Having obtained satisfaction completely"By the Father and by His own power
ii. He emerged from the dead to assume the role as their head being legally discharged, acquitted, and justified (Gill)."
iii. And as those for whom He died we are given the same release!
3) The resurrection of Christ did not justify us; that was accomplished in His obedience and death.
4) It did most certainly confirm that on our behalf eternal righteousness has been brought in.