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Genesis 15 Abram Believes God. On one occasion the venerable John Morley was called upon to unveil a statue in London to the memory of William Gladstone.

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Presentation on theme: "Genesis 15 Abram Believes God. On one occasion the venerable John Morley was called upon to unveil a statue in London to the memory of William Gladstone."— Presentation transcript:

1 Genesis 15 Abram Believes God

2 On one occasion the venerable John Morley was called upon to unveil a statue in London to the memory of William Gladstone. He spoke of the great statesman’s services to England, especially his stand in private and public life for truth, honor and righteousness. Then looking up at the crowded office windows, where youth were eagerly watching, he said: “Young men and women, take sides. Life is a battle between two forces, good and evil, right and wrong, truth and error. Go one side or the other; take sides!”

3 Genesis 15:1 After these things the word of the L ORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not fear, Abram, I am a shield to you; Your reward shall be very great.”

4 Victorious over the invading armies, Abram nevertheless dreaded the return home. Monumental deliverances are sometimes followed by depressing fears: David: (1 Sam. 27:1) – “Then David said to himself, “Now I will perish one day by the hand of Saul. There is nothing better for me than to escape into the land of the Philistines…”

5 Elijah: (I Kings 19:10) “Then he came there to a cave, and lodged there; and behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here Elijah?” And he said, “I have been very zealous for the LORD, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Thy covenant, torn down Thine altars and killed Thy prophets with the sword. And I alone am left, and they seek my life, to take it away…” (wind, earthquake, fire…and a sound of gentle wind)

6 Genesis 15:2-5 2 Abram said, “O Lord G OD, what will You give me, since I am childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 And Abram said, “Since You have given no offspring to me, one born in my house is my heir.” 4 Then behold, the word of the L ORD came to him, saying, “This man will not be your heir; but one who will come forth from your own body, he shall be your heir.” 5 And He took him outside and said, “Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”

7 Genesis 15:2-5 Abram sees a vision – not a dream; he is awake The vision continued all day and into the darkness of night The Word of the Lord appeared to him (Jesus the Word?) Abram expressed his reasons for worry – no heir If he and Sarai were to die, all they possessed would go to a distant relative---or no relative at all

8 Genesis 15:2-5 “Disappointment in hope” God has repeatedly assured Abram that he would have numerous anccestors (sands of the shore…a mighty nation) Yet, Sarai is still barren, and getting old (she is 80 now) “The pent-up yearnings of his nature, rendered the more intense by reason of the promise, could not longer be restrained. In language full of pathos he complains to God about his childless condition. “Hope deferred makes the heart sick” (Prov. 13:12)

9 Genesis 15:2-5 Abram could not discern how this promise could be fulfilled “It is doubtful if any saints, more than Abram, can predict beforehand how the Divine promises shall be accomplished. Yet a recollection of whose promises they are should enable them, as it might have assisted him, to perceive that not a single word of God’s can fall to the ground. But owing partly to limitations in the human mind, and imperfections in the human heart, doubts insensibly insinuate themselves against even the clearest and the strongest evidence. And when danger, disappointment, and doubt conjoin to invade the soul, dejection must inevitably follow” (Pulpit Commentary, Vol. 1, p. 217)

10 Genesis 15:2-5 Q: Why wouldn’t LOT have been a relative who would receive the inheritance? “Now, the power of the temptation to Lot, as it is the power of it to us, was that the good of the one alternative was present, while the good of the other seemed distant. The one could be had at sight, the other only through faith. Esau – hunger, why not sell his birthright for a bowl of stew? Judas – why not sell out Jesus, when the sound of silver is tingling in his ears---the Messianic cause is sinking anyway! Paul – in prison, the Christians are scattering; why shouldn’t Demus leave Paul, instead of wasting his life for a lost cause?

11 Genesis 15:2-5 The seduction of the world is that it is here, palpable, to be had now. It presses on the mind; it presses on the senses. To exercise self-control for the sake of a future blessing, to put off a present good for a prospective good, needs strength of character and will, and above all, faith. Faith is the refusal of the small for the sake of the large. Faith will make no decision, take no step, merely from worldly motives; for it sees past the immediate good to a richer, grander good.

12 Genesis 15:2-5 Worldly wisdom is not wisdom; it is folly, the blind grasping at what is within reach. It is folly, for any present good, to cut yourself off from your true life. A good conscience, peace of heart, faith, the vision of God, the hope of glory---it is a fool’s bargain to barter these for any mess of pottage. Lot’s share in the wealth of Sodom was a pitiful substitute for a place in Abram’s thoughts and faith. And the end was a ruined home, a desolate life, and a broken heart. (Pulpit Commentary, Vol. 1, p. 63)

13 Genesis 15:2-5 Q: Who is Eliezer of Damascus? It is possible that he means that his property would go to the ‘state’ – the property of Damascus (probably not) Q: Doesn’t Abram call Eliezer ‘one born in my house?’ He is a dependent, a member of the household, although not a direct descendant of Abram/Sarai A: Eliezer is probably a servant, perhaps the elder of the household under Abram, who ruled as an administrator, and who would of necessity, inherit his estate

14 Genesis 15:2-5 The first time God spoke to Abram, he compared his descendants to the sand on the seashore---or the dust of the earth. This time, he compares them to the stars in the sky. Q: Does this imply that the Promised Seed, the Messiah, would have his sphere of activity in the Promised Land upon earth, but also in Heaven? Yes, undoubtedly

15 Genesis 15:6 “And he believed in the LORD; and He counted [imputed] it to him for righteousness” (KJV) This is the first mention of the word ‘believe’ “Here is the great principle of true salvation, set forth for the first time in the Bible. Not by works do men attain or manifest righteousness, but by faith. Because they believe in the Word of God, He credits them with perfect righteousness and therefore enables sinful men to be made fit for the fellowship of a holy God.” (Morris, p. 325) (Morris, p. 325)

16 Genesis 15:6 Genesis 15:6 is quoted three times in the New Testament 1.Romans 4:3 “For what does the Scripture say? And Abraham believed God, and it as reckoned to him as righteousness” 2.Galatians 3:6 “Even so Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness” 3.James 2:23-24 “…and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.” and he was called the friend of God. You see that a man is justified by works, and not by faith alone”

17 Genesis 15:6 1.The Object of Abram’s Faith: Q: Why is Abram’s FAITH brought to attention in Genesis 15? It can only be explained on the supposition that he now for the first time clearly and implicitly received, embraced, and rested in the promise of an heir, and consequently of a Savior. The faith which justifies and saves under the Gospel has an outlook similar to Abram’s. The object which it contemplates and appropriates is not simply the Divine promise of salvation, but the specific offer of a Savior, to the one who believes in Jesus (Rom, 3:26 – “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”)

18 Genesis 15:6 2.The ground of Abram’s faith Neither reason nor the five senses, but the solemnly given and clearly stated, and perfectly sufficient, and stated word of God is the ground’s of his faith. This is the basis of our Christian faith – God’s promise in its simple simplicity of a promise of salvation through a savior, Jesus Christ, has, like that given to Abram, has been announced to us, clearly exhibited in the Gospels, and declared to be perfectly sufficient for our salvation (John 3:36 – “He who BELIEVES in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not OBEY the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him”)

19 Genesis 15:6 3.The Acting Out of Abram’s Faith It was an instantaneous, accepting, resting faith, on the Divine Promise, the moment it was explicitly made known to Abram. He received it full-hearted, without reservation of doubt, or uncertainty, implicitly reposing on the Word of God; and “being fully persuaded that God was able also to perform that which He had promised” (Rom. 4:21)

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