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Will He Find Faith?
Acts 7:1-8 New King James Version (NKJV)
7 Then the high priest said, “Are these things so?”
2 And he said, “Brethren and fathers, listen: The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Haran, 3 and said to him, ‘Get out of your country and from your relatives, and come to a land that I will show you.’ 4 Then he came out of the land of the Chaldeans and dwelt in Haran. And from there, when his father was dead, He moved him to this land in which you now dwell. 5 And God gave him no inheritance in it, not even enough to set his foot on. But even when Abraham had no child, He promised to give it to him for a possession, and to his descendants after him. 6 But God spoke in this way: that his descendants would dwell in a foreign land, and that they would bring them into bondage and oppress them four hundred years. 7 ‘And the nation to whom they will be in bondage I will judge,’ said God, ‘and after that they shall come out and serve Me in this place.’ 8 Then He gave him the covenant of circumcision; and so Abraham begot Isaac and circumcised him on the eighth day; and Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot the twelve patriarchs.
Stephen’s speech before the Sanhedrin is a defense of the faith and it costs him his life.
As we continue to through this chapter we will see that Israel repeatedly resisted God and disobeyed Him, yet God made sure the promise He made to Abraham would be fulfilled.
Stephen starts out with Abraham- establishing the line of faith in Jesus.
There are very few names that are known and honored throughout the world in the entire record of human history, but the name of Abraham is.
Jews, Muslims, Christians all honor the name of Abraham, he stands head and shoulders above the human race.
Why? Because he was rich? No, Solomon was richer.
Because he did great works for humanity, no. Ghandi did more
Abraham had the audacity to believe God.
Romans 4:1-3 New King James Version (NKJV)
4 What then shall we say that Abraham our father[a] has found according to the flesh? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was [b]accounted to him for righteousness.”
This is why Abraham is called the father of faith.
God said, “Leave everything you know and go to a place that you have no idea what is there and you have no idea even how to get there.”
Abraham didn’t have a map. He had no job waiting for him. He had no home waiting. He didn’t know the people of the land. BUT Abraham had a promise from God- that God would give this piece of land to him and his children, even though he had none at that time.
Abraham had faith in God and as such was called a “friend of God’
Not many throughout scripture are called a friend of God, there are only a few that have had that kind of a relationship with the Lord in the OT
There is one word for “faith” in the all of the NT, “pistis”
It translates as- “persuasion, credence (belief that something is true), conviction of truth, reliance upon Christ for salvation and a constancy in such a profession”
Romans 4:16-21 New King James Version (NKJV)
16 Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be [a]sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all 17 (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; 18 who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall your descendants be.” 19 And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. 20 He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.
Before Abraham saw it- he believed the promise. Before it came to pass, he was fully convinced that God would do what He said He would do and in the way in which He said it.
Abraham had many reasons to not believe God-
“his own body was dead” suggests he was biologically incapable of having kids
“the deadness of Sarah’s womb” his wife was barren and now was well beyond child years
Yet, Abraham chose to believe the promise of God in spite of his impossible circumstances
“being fully persuade that what He had promised, He was able to perform”
What I need you to recognize is that everything God has ever said, has come to pass. Every Word, every dot and every tittle. Every prophecy in Scripture has been or will be fulfilled.
God cannot lie! When will you start to believe Him?
2 Peter 3:9 New King James Version (NKJV)
9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward [a]us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance., and not faint
God may take His time, but it WILL come to pass-
The faith of Abraham was a true faith that endured, believed, trusted, obeyed, grew strong and gave glory to God. This is the type of faith that makes us the children of God.
In Luke, Jesus is telling a parable of how men always ought to pray and not faint
Luke 18:7-8 New King James Version (NKJV)
7 And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? 8 I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”
Let me break this down for you:
God’s people are those who persevere in faith and holiness, crying out to God for Christ’s return to destroy Satan’s power and the present evil world system. They will pray for God to avenge them speedily and for Christ to reign in righteousness-
And God promise’s that He will avenge His own. He will eventually take care of wickedness and injustices done to His righteous ones, and He will put an end to their suffering and distress….
BUT WILL HE FIND FAITH?
Nevertheless – But. Notwithstanding this. Though this is true that God will avenge his elect, yet will he find his elect “faithful?” The danger is not that “God” will be unfaithful – he will surely be true to his promises; but the danger is that his elect – his afflicted people – will be discouraged; will not persevere in prayer; will not continue to have confidence in him; and will, under heavy trials, sink into despondency. The sole meaning of this phrase, therefore, is, that “there is more danger that his people would grow weary, than that God would be found unfaithful and fail to avenge his elect.”
Jesus poses the question because at the time His return draws near, wickedness, evil and deception will be so rampant, that the church will lose heart, stop persevering in prayer and the Word and fall away from their faith.
This question implies that “in” those trials many professed disciples might faint and turn back, and many of his “real” followers almost lose sight of this great truth, and begin to inquire whether God would interpose to save them. The same question may be asked respecting any other remarkable visitation of the Son of God in affliction. When tried and persecuted, do “we” believe that God will avenge us? Do “we” pray always and not faint? Have “we” faith to believe that, though clouds and darkness are round about him, yet righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne? And when storms of persecution assail us, can “we” go to God and confidently commit our cause to him, and believe that he will bring forth our righteousness as the light, and our judgment as the noon-day?
Matthew 24:24 New King James Version (NKJV)
24 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
2 Thessalonians 2:9-10 New King James Version (NKJV)
9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
Stephen DIED for his faith- and as the first martyr, Jesus STOOD for Him-
Will He find faith in YOU? Here are some questions to ask yourself:
Am I persevering in faith, continuing steadfast in prayer and the Word, calling out to God to destroy wickedness and to set up His kingdom of righteousness?
Am I so preoccupied with the world and this life that I am not looking forward to His return and His eternal kingdom?
- Are you persevering in true faith?
Faith is not a “faith in faith” or a faith in what YOU want, but it is faith in what God has said.
Sooooooo many people lose heart in God because they have faith in something THEY want Him to do, want Him to take care of, a prayer that they want answered in the WAY in which they want it answered.
EX: I will use healing as an example- healing isn’t what we think. We always want the miraculous event, and I HAVE SEEN miracles, but I have also seen people walk through the hard way and I have seen people die, healing on the other side
Even grace is activated by faith.
- How’s your prayer and Word life? You will not persevere in faith if you seldom pray or are in your Word. What’s your faith even based off if you don’t read the Bible? Because if its not the Jesus of the Bible, it’s another Jesus.
- Are you persevering in holiness (overcoming sin)?
1 Thessalonians 5:5-10 New King James Version (NKJV)
5 You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. 6 Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be [a]sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. 8 But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. 9 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.
4.Are you obedient?
James 2:14-24 New King James Version (NKJV)
14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without [a]your works, and I will show you my faith by [b]my works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is [c]dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made [d]perfect? 23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was [e]accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. 24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.
Your “work” is to OBEY God. Abraham could have believed God for a new land and country, but if he stayed where he was he would not have received the promise, no matter how much he believed it to be true.
Obedience is the evidence that you are fully trust and are reliant on God.
Pastor Matt and I could have believed with all our heart that we were to build a church, but if we just sat around and talked about it and told everyone what we were “going” to do- there would be no FVC