Sunday, May 12, 2019, Evident Grace Fellowship looked at Romans 4.13-25:

 

Romans 4. 13 For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. 15 For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression.

 

16 That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, 17 as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.

 

18 In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. 20 No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” 23 But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.

 

We used these two quotes to frame our thinking of growing stronger in our faith:

 

Admiral Jim Stockdale, “You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end – which you can never afford to lose – with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”

 

Stockdale Paradox: “Retain faith that you will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties.  AND, at the same time, confront the brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”

 

Big Idea:  How to Become Stronger

 

First, exercise your faith.

Second, rest on grace.

Third, believe against hope.

 

First, exercise your faith.

 

Romans 4. 13 For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. 15 For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression.

 

Abraham was asked to believe that God would give him and his wife a child when Abraham was nearly 100 and Sarah in her 90’s.  But the promise of God’s work was not going to come by how hard Abraham worked or how good he was.  It was only going to come by having faith in what God was going to do.  We took must exercise our faith to believe that God is going to work to do what He promised while we are in the midst of difficulty.

 

Second, rest on grace.

 

16 That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, 17 as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.

 

Abraham had to rest on God’s grace that God would give him the grace to believe.  Abraham needed to have the faith to believe in the God who created out of nothing and rose Jesus from the dead.  If God can do those things, He could keep His promise to Abraham.  That is what we are called to do as well.  Trust God who is powerful to do what He promised He would do.

 

Third, believe against hope.

 

18 In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. 20 No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” 23 But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.

 

Hoping against hope means hoping when there is no reason to hope.  You look around and there is no reason to have hope except the one you hope in is God.  God raised Jesus from the dead and delivered Him up for our sins.  Because of that, we can hope against hope in the midst of our most difficult situations.

 

Big Idea:  How to Become Stronger

 

First, exercise your faith.

Second, rest on grace.

Third, believe against hope.

 

Truth:  Faith x Grace + Hope = Strength

 

Application:  Live knowing that hoping when it looks like hope is silly is the essence of faith in Jesus.  It’s then that you grow in strength.

 

Application:  Be that Christian this week.  Talk about Jesus more than you talk about what to do next.

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