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The Absurdity of Faith

We have toiled all night and have taken nothing. Luke 5:5.  
I wonder if you've ever felt like that?  You've toiled all night and you've got nothing to show for it.  I wanted to write a short series on the nature of faith for those of us who know only too well what that feeling is like.   
We are living in straightening times.  When one is in the grip of a recession its easy to forget that whilst we may be living in a recession there is no recession living in us.  On the contrary living in each of us is an infinite supply.  Recessions are things that people who's focus is making a living concern themselves with.
 
We are people who are occupied not with making a living but with making a life. His life.
 
So I thought that it might help somebody (other than just me) to reflect on the what it means to move from the school of faith and live in the life of faith through the eyes of the father of faith - Abraham... So there you are these will be where I'll draw the water from for these little scribblings.
 
I would only ask that you remember ours is a very different economy one based on faith not works, one based on abundance rather than scarcity.  One based on His promises not ours.
 
 
Works
Faith 
self effort 
Effortless 
Just let me 
Let there be 
Hardship 
Ease
Flesh 
Spirit 
Law
Grace
temporal
eternal 
Seen 
Unseen 
condemns
justifies
curse
promise 
proves that self-righteous are unrighteous 
makes the unrighteous - righteous 
voids the promise
activates the promises
causes us to stumble 
enables us to stand
sight 
faith 
not Christ but “I”
not I but Christ 
grieves the Spirit 
Receive the Spirit 
captives 
captivated 
creates obstacles  
Moves mountains
fear
boldness
wounds
heals 
promotes doubt and uncertainty 
assurance and certainty 
binds
looses
Disobedience 
Obedience 
the overarching theme of Romans - obedience to FAITH 
 
 
 ‘The Absurdity of Faith"  in this series we are going to look at the life of a man who earned the extraordinary title “ THE FRIEND OF GOD” Isa 41:8 
 
What is utterly astonishing about this seemingly random man, a moon-worshipper from Iraq was that God made him a promise and he made him a promise for no apparent reason. 
 
Bur perhaps even more astonishing is the fact that the promise he made to Abraham were not confined to him alone but extended to all his seed, that is all who are his children and all who are of faith are his children.
 
God made a promise - that is to say that God made a personal commitment to him
 
God gave this man an undertaking, 
God promising his best effort, 
God making a prediction about a future outcome.
 
What secures this man’s place in history is that he believed God.  Many of us BELIEVE IN GOD but that is not the same as BELIEVING GOD.  Abraham believed as he waited and the more he waited the stronger his belief became.
 
So much so that he gave up CERTAINTY for UNCERTAINTY and went out not knowing where he was going or where he would end up or what would become of him.  
 
So much so that he traded the UNSEEN for the SEEN.   
Q: Why?  
A: Because he had faith 
 
Q: What is faith? 
A: Faith is belief with strong conviction; firm belief in something for which there may be no tangible proof; complete trust; opposite of doubt.
 
“Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.”
 
Hebs 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things not seen, the evidence of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen.” 
 
Now faith [which means complete confidence] is the substance real being; 
foundation; actual existence, real physical matter of which a person or thing consists; 
 
Now faith is the substance things not seen 
 
Substance = kernel: the choicest or most essential or most vital part of some idea or experience
Substance = means: considerable capital (wealth or income); "he is a man of means"
 
...the EVIDENCE of things not seen 
 
a proof, that by which a thing is proved or tested
conviction 
 
Either faith is absurd or it is real and if it is real then we who refuse to live in the realm of faith are ourselves absurd
 
According to the writer of Hebrews “Without faith it is impossible to please God” 
 
According to Habbakkuk the righteous man will live by His faith and in HIS faithfulness. 
 
According to Paul, we are made righteous by faith 
 
According to Paul it is not our faith at all but the faith of God operating in us, as us 
 
Apart from Adam, nobody casts a longer shadow than Abraham. He it was who was chosen by God to become the father of a new spiritual race. Although a Gentile by birth, he became the world’s first Hebrew. 
 
Abraham was born in the Ur of the Chaldeans [modern day Iraq]. 
 
Nothing is known of him for the first 70 years of his life. 
 
Yet, when the call to greatness comes, at a time in which you and I might call our retirement he gives up everything that he has ever known and goes out not knowing where he was going to a place that God would show him.
 
Whilst Adam is the father of all who have sinned and died, Abraham is the father of all who believe and receive life.
 
Such is the spiritual significance of this man that all the monotheistic [monotheism is the belief that this is only one true God] faiths, Judaism, Islam and Christianity all claim him as their spiritual father.
 
The bible’s account of the story of Abraham and his immediate descendants spans some 38 chapters and covers a period of 400 years.
 
We are first introduced to him in the eleventh chapter of Genesis and in so doing we are introduced to the God of Promise.
 
In Gen 12:1-8 we read God’s promise. He will:
1.       make him a great nation v2
2.       bless him v2
3.       make his name great v2
4.       you shall be a blessing v2
5.       bless those who bless you v3
6.       curse those who curse you v3
7.       and in him shall all the families of the earth be bless
 
As we will see God will make good on his promises - but it will take Abraham many years to learn the way of the Spirit.  But for now it is worth reminding ourselves that the promises made to Abraham are also ours...
 
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