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THE TELL TALE MARKS OF GENUINE FAITH
Intro: Our text mentions a man named Abraham. He is known as “The Father Of The Faithful. This man is revered by over one-half the worlds population. In our day, Abraham is held in high esteem by Jews, Muslims and Christians. In ancient times the Jews considered Abraham to be almost worthy of their worship. In the Bible, Abraham is presented to us as a great example of a man who lived his life by faith, Heb. 11:8-19. James 2:23 records the fact that Abraham was called the “Friend of God. This man’s life was a special life and a great portion of the first book of the Bible is devoted to it.
If you had been watching Abraham when he left his home to follow God at the age of 75 you would have said, “There goes a man of God.” But, if you had seen him lying to Pharaoh and later sinning with the Egyptian handmade Hagar, you would have said, “That fellow Abraham is a phony!” But, which observation would be the truth?
In our world many people claim to possess genuine faith. When you speak to them, they say, “I am saved and I am right with the Lord. But, are they really? Many people claim to know God, but do they have the proof in their life that they know really God? Does the evidence in their lives say they are genuinely saved?
That is a hard question to answer, but I believe that we can find some help by spending a few minutes looking into the life of Abraham. If you will take the time to observe his life, you will see that he has the marks of genuine faith all over his life. And, guess what? The same marks that were in his life will also be in ours if we are truly saved! Let’s take a few minutes to examine The Tell Tale Marks Of Genuine Faith, that are revealed in these verses. As we do, we will see where we all really stand.
Involves An Irresistible Call
Abraham was a lost pagan living in a place called
This is how faith comes to every person that has it! No one wakes up one morning thinking “You
know, I think I’ll get right with God today. The lost sinner cannot think that way. Why?
He is dead in trespasses and sins, Eph.
2:1-3. He is blinded by the god of
this world, 2 Cor. 4:4. He has no desire for
One day, however, God begins to move in the lost sinner’s heart. God quickens that dead spirit and causes the sinner to become aware of his sins, Rom. 3:23. He makes the sinner aware of the wrath of God and of the coming judgment on sin, John 3:18; 36; Rom. 6:23. He shows that sinner that he is headed to Hell and that he has only one hope of salvation. God takes that sinner and points him to Jesus; to the Lamb of God Who died on the cross and rose from the dead. And God says, “You might be lost, but if you will come to Me through faith in My Son, I will save you from your sins; deliver you from My wrath and give you eternal life! This call is called conviction and without it no one will ever be saved, John 6:44-45.
Have you ever experienced that divine call that brings the conviction of sins? That is the essential first step in acquiring genuine faith in God!)
Involves An Individual Choice
We are told that when Abraham heard the call of the Lord, he obeyed.” He did what God told him to do! This faith in God is what brought salvation
to Abraham, Gen. 15:6;
Can you recall a moment in your life when you turned from your sins to embrace Jesus? Placing your faith in Him is an essential component of salvation. It is not enough to join the church, become a “better person, turn over a new leaf, get baptized, or to try to stop sinning. The Bible says, “ye must be born again,” John 3:3; 7.
When did it take place in your life? That moment is the instant when genuine faith is born in your heart. The moment when you respond to God’s call in humble obedience is the first and most important mark of genuine faith. How does that strike you? Do you have the mark?)
(Note: By the way, did you notice
that Abraham was not called to pray a prayer, sign a card or join
something. He was called to go with
God. That is the Gospel call! Jesus reached out to fallen men and women and
said “Come, follow Me! (
Salvation comes down to you hearing His call and you going after Him. To follow Jesus means that you will love what He loves; hate what He hates; go where He goes; and do what He does. Do you have this mark?)
Do you have the marks of genuine faith?
II. v. 8b-9 SIGN #2: THE MARK OF FAITH’S EXPRESSION
A. v. 8b Faith Lived In God’s Path He went out, not knowing whither he went. That is a statement of faith! He did not know where he would end up, but he trusted the Lord to lead him along the right path! And, that is exactly what the Lord did!
(Ill. God is not looking for people who have everything figured out. He is looking for people who will trust Him to direct their path. He is looking for people who will let Him be the Lord, and who will fall in line behind Him and go where He leads! He is looking for people who will follow Him! Sometimes His paths are hard, but they are always the best, Psa. 37:23; Job 23:10; Rom. 8:28. Faith knows this and lives as God leads.)
v. 9a Faith Looked For God’s Promise When Abraham arrived in the
C. v. 9b Faith Leaned On God’s Providence As Abraham journey from place to place, his life was not always easy. In fact, if you study his life you will find times of victory and times of failure; times of joy and times of sorrow; times of righteousness and times of rebellion; times of faith and times of foolishness; and times of joy and times of testing. Yet, during all the times of his life, Abraham trusted the Lord to bring into his life exactly what he needed. He lived as a pilgrim in a strange land and he leaned on the Lord for every need. He looked to God to keep His Word and fulfill His promises. He leaned on the providence of God and trusted God to do that which was best in his life.
It was not an easy life; but it was a life of faith; and it was a life that honored God! Look at God’s Own testimony of how He felt about Abraham, Isa. 41:8! Look at how God demonstrated His feelings about Abraham, Gen. 18:17-19. What a life! It was not a perfect life, but it was a life of faith and it was a life that honored the Lord!
(Note: Do you know what we are looking at here? We are looking at genuine faith in action. You see, real faith always proves its reality in faithful works and humble obedience, James 2:18; Eph. 2:10. A faith that won’t follow God is no faith at all! A faith that won’t trust God is no faith at all. A faith that won’t obey God, even in the smallest of things, is not genuine faith at all.)
Do you have the marks of genuine faith?
III. v. 10 SIGN #3: THE MARK OF FAITH’S EXPECTATION
Faith Expects A Heavenly Hope
Even as he journeyed from place to place in
(Ill. Genuine faith walks through this world with the same kind of hope. Peter called it a “lively hope, 1 Peter 1:3-4. It is the sure knowledge that some day, the saints of God will leave this world and fly away for one that is far better. We are pilgrims and strangers here, 1 Pet. 2:11. This faith keeps the child of God going trough the trials, tragedies and troubles that plague us here. This hope came in when Jesus entered our hearts, Col. 1:27! Friends, there is a better day coming for the saints of God! That is the expectation of our faith! The landing will be safe!)
B. Faith Expects A Heavenly Home As Abraham journeyed, he longed for the day when he could settle down and put away his traveling shoes. He was not looking for a city on this earth, but he was looking for a heavenly city, built by God, where he could live forever in the presence of the Lord.
1. Faith Looks For A Prepared Home builder and maker We look for a home prepared for us by the Lord Himself. This was His promise, John 14:1-3, and faith expects Him to keep it. Faith will not be disappointed!
2. Faith Looks For A Perfect Home God This home will be built by God and God does not make junk! The home He is preparing for His people is a perfect land designed for a perfected people. In that land, none of the things that blemish this land will ever be found there, Rev. 21:4; Rev. 21:27. It is glorious beyond description and faith longs to be there!
3. Faith Looks For A Permanent Home foundations This home is not a temporary home like the tents Abraham dwelt in, or the homes we live in. That heavenly home is a permanent home, a place that will never fade away, fall away, rust away or rot away, 1 Pet. 1:4; Matt. 6:19-20. It is a permanent home, and faith longs to settle down over there!
(Note: Genuine faith embraces the truth of a better land and it longs to be there. Real faith refuses to settle down here!)
Do you have the marks of genuine faith?
Now, look at another scene from the life of Peter. This scene is found in Matthew 26:69-75. It is a chilly night and several people; soldiers, servants and one wayward Disciple, have gathered themselves around a small fire in a courtyard to seek warmth. A conversation begins and three different people look at Peter and say to him, “You are one of His Disciples! Three times Peter is confronted and three times Peter denies that he knows the Lord Jesus. The last time he denies the Lord, he does so with cursing! If you have been there and had overheard that conversation, would you have said that Peter was a saved man or a lost man?
Here is the same man in two different settings. In the first setting, almost anyone would say, “Those are the words of a saved man! But, in the second scene, most people would say, “That sounds like a lost man talking! So was Peter saved or lost?
He had successes and failures, but did he possess the marks of genuine faith? Let’s find out:
1. He had the Experience of Faith John 1:40; Luke 5:1-10
2. He had the Expression of Faith Luke 5:11
3. He had the Expectation of Faith 1 Pet. 1:3-5
Yes, Peter, just like Abraham, had all the marks of genuine faith! Now, look into your own heart. Do you have the marks of genuine faith? Bow your head, and in the stillness of this moment take inventory. If you have them rejoice. If you do not, then come to Jesus now!