Evangelist Jabez Park’s sermon from Shiloh's Lord’s Day Service on September 22, 2019
The significance of the expressions “Abraham, Hope, and Faith”
As believers, there are expressions in the Bible that we need to have some understanding of and what these expressions mean and the significance that they carry. The expressions “Abraham,” “Hope,” and “Faith,” are expressions that we cannot live our lives as Christians without referring to or saying these terms or at least hearing them in service. Therefore, what kind of significance does it have for us when it comes to our belief, and faith in God? God said to Abraham, “Look at the stars in the sky; if you can count them in their great number, that is how great and numerous your descendants will be,” and Abraham believed (Gen 15:5-6). From this, we can see this is an episode of Abraham’s faith.
The Redemptive Administration of Abraham’s life
God promises Abraham two elements: “descendants” and “land” (Gen 15:5-7). This teaches us that God wants to establish His kingdom through Abraham. Thus, a kingdom or nation has “people, land, and sovereignty,” as its components that make up a nation, that make up God’s kingdom. This is the redemptive administration we see in Abraham’s life in that God’s purpose of all of creation is actually to establish His kingdom (Gen 1:28). God creates man in His own image and the very first words that God says to “man” that He created is; “Be fruitful and multiply” meaning to grow as a family, to grow and have children; thus “people.” Therefore, fill the “earth.” God then says to “man” “Subdue it and rule over all the creatures of creation.” Here, God wants to establish His sovereignty through the image-bearers, Adam and his wife Eve to rule over creation. However, the serpent temps and deceives Adam and Eve, and they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil from which they were not supposed to eat from. As a consequence of disobedience, they would die, and thus God’s people are destroyed (Gen 2:17). After eating the forbidden fruit, both Adam and Eve had the problem of sin in their bodies and now if they eat from the Tree of Life, that sin problem would be with them forever.
Out of mercy, and not wanting them to live forever with sin in their bodies; God cast them out of the Garden of Eden to resolve the problem of sin. God cast them out from the “land” for breaking God’s sovereignty. Thus, the work of the devil is to destroy God’s people, God’s land and His sovereignty. God in His great mercy to resolve sin, gave garments of clothing to Adam and Eve and covered them fully and promised to redeem them from sin through the woman’s seed (Gen 3:15; 21). This “seed” is talking about children and descendants. Thus, the kingdom is promised through the “seed.” The Hebrew word for “seed” is “zerah” which is figuratively about children that are coming. This teaches us that through Abraham God will restore the people “seed” and possess the gate of their enemies which is the “land” conquered as a consequence of sin, but will now be restored. Therefore through Abraham, God restores the “people,” “land,” and “sovereignty,” because Abraham obeys the voice of God (Gen 22:16-18). Although the kingdom was seemingly lost in creation during the time of Eden is now being restored and redeemed through the life of Abraham, the “father of faith.” Therefore, when we have faith like Abraham, it means that we can inherit that very same kingdom. The “seed” that was promised to Abraham is fulfilled through Jesus Christ (Gal 3:16). The purpose of Jesus coming to this earth was to preach the kingdom of God (Luke 4:43). The first thing that Jesus declared in His ministry when people were exposed to Him was that the “kingdom of God is at hand,” therefore “repent” (Mark 1:14-15). When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden, they too should have repented before God but did not and looked for others to blame.
Abraham and Hope
The Greek word for “hope” is “elpis,” which means “something that you expect to happen or come true whether good or bad.” However, there are circumstances where we believe there is no hope; thus we are “against hope” believing that “hope” is not possible. This is “elpida” in Greek. But then, we have Abraham who is “in hope.” In Greek, this is “elpidi” which is a means to accomplish something or “on hope,” which enabled him to believe. Therefore, everything is going against you and there is no hope, but for some reason, that human part of us that has faith in God believes that God is going to work things out. We have that hope! Abraham was in this situation, for he was upon “hope” and that is why he believed. Although there was nothing for Abraham to hope in, he had his hope in God and that is why that hope turned into faith (Rom 4:17-18).
Abraham and faith
Faith in Greek is “pistis.” Thus, you have things that are hoped for; things you know are going to come true and assured of; that is faith (Heb 1:11). Faith is not just something you believe or what you don’t believe, but faith is the relationship you have with another person. God promised Abraham that he would have descendants through Isaac, and he had this hope even though he didn’t see it. He was assured that it was going to happen because God said so. However, God commands Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, but Abraham did not believe it. This is faith and Abraham’s relationship with God for he trusted in God to raise Isaac from the dead even after he sacrifices him (Heb 11:17-19). Thus, “pistis” means where are you in your faith and relationship with God? God asked this question to Adam after he sinned (Gen 3:9). This “faith” is restored through Abraham and his children.
Conclusion: We talked about faith and hope but most important is love (1 Cor 13:13). We love because God first loved us (1 John 4:10; 19). For God so loved the world that He sent His son that we may have eternal life (John 3:16). Thus, faith and hope originally all comes from love. Therefore, if we lose hope and faith, that’s one thing; but don’t lose love because God, who is love, gives love so that we may have hope and faith. Jesus came as the Word and faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ (John 1:14; Rom 10:17). Thus, when we hear the Word, that is how we develop faith.