Questioning Faith (090920a)
An exposition of Genesis 18:1-33. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, September 20, 2009.
Sermon Outline »
Is it wrong to question? Does the person who lives by faith walk in unquestioning obedience to God and never suffer from a twinge of doubt or confusion? If you listen to modern day “faith teachers” to have even the slightest doubt is to be denied the blessing of God. Is that a biblical view? Is that reflected in the lives of the saints in Scripture? In exploring the life of Abraham, the friend of God, I don’t find any support for such a position.
Abraham stumbled and struggled to believe. He wasn’t, at every turn, the shining example of faith. Yet at the end of the day he is remembered for his faith. He is called the “father of faith.” But most surprisingly he is called the “friend of God.” The interesting thing is that there are only three such references in all the Scripture and none of them appear in the historical narrative of his life!
- 2 Chronicles 20:7
The armies of Moab and Ammon had invaded Judah, Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of the people before the temple in Jerusalem and, based on his earlier promises to the nation’s fathers, asked God for deliverance: “O our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend?”
- James 2:23
“Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness, and he was called God’s friend.”
- The most significant was Isaiah 41:8
“But you, O Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, you descendants of Abraham my friend.”
God himself referred to Abraham as his friend! Did Abraham ever struggle to believe? Did Abraham ever doubt? The problem is not is the questioning – it is a matter of what you do with your questions. It is a matter of how you handle your doubts. In fact questions can serve as the basis for profound faith and that is the lesson we learn from Genesis chapter 18.
Text: Genesis 18:1-33
Thesis: Biblical answers to legitimate questions form a solid foundation for genuine faith.
Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. So how does such confidence and assurance arise from doubts, frustration and fears? How is it that one moves from uncertainty to certainty? That’s what we will observe from our text.
- Focus: 18:9-14.
Question #1 – A question of divine ability – “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”
- Focus: 18:16-19
Question #2 – A question of divine grace – “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?”
- Focus: 18:20-25
Question #3 – A Question of divine Justice – “Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?”
Now when these questions are answered what is your basis of faith? A God who is able to do the impossible. A gracious God who can and will be known. A God who can be trusted to always do what is right.
Now that is a sure foundation!