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Sermon #40 — Romans Series
Title: Do you believe God?
Text: Romans 4:1-5
Subject: Faith in Christ
Date: Sunday Morning — December 28, 2014
Reading: Genesis 15:1-21
I want to talk to you very personally and very frankly. I have a question for you, a question I want everyone here to honestly consider and answer. I want you to answer the question for yourself. I can’t answer it for you. Your husband or wife can’t answer it for you. Your mother or father can’t answer it for you. The church can’t answer it for you. This is a question you must answer for yourself. You’re the only one who can. Here’s my question — Do you believe God? That’s my question. That’s my subject. That’s the title of my message. — Do you believe God? You will find my text in the 4th chapter of the Book of Romans.
I am not asking, “Do you believe there is a god?” Everybody believes there is a god. Everybody on God’s earth believes there is a god. I am asking, “Do you believe God?” The devil believes that God is. I am asking, “Do you believe God?” I am not asking, “Do you believe in God?” Most everybody does. I am not asking, “Do you believe the Bible?” You probably do. I am not asking, “Are you religious?” I suspect that you are. I am asking, “Do you believe God?”
Here in Romans 4 we read about a man named Abraham; and we are told that “Abraham believed God.” Do you believe God? Do I? That’s the question. Let’s read about this man Abraham and find the answer. — Romans 4:1-5.
(Romans 4:1-5) What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? (2) For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. (3) For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. (4) Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. (5) But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
Look at this question first. — “What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?” (v. 1) — What did Abraham find? I will tell you this: he found justification before God. Abraham was justified. He was declared not guilty. His sins were remitted. His sins were forgiven. His sins were put away and pardoned. He found justification. Abraham was justified before God when he believed God.
Abraham found acceptance with God. He is called the friend of God. Abraham was called the friend of God; and he found that friendship, that acceptance with God as his friend, by faith, because he believed God (James 2:23; Isaiah 41:8). He was…
· Chosen of God.
· Called of God.
· Redeemed by God.
· Given faith in God.
· Preserved by God.
Like Enoch and before him, Abraham walked with God, as the friend of God, by faith. Believing God, he found acceptance with God. He was accepted in Christ from everlasting; and he found acceptance with God when he believed God.
“What shall we say then that Abraham our father hath found?” — He found justification. He found acceptance. And he found righteousness. Abraham found righteousness. He found true holiness and true righteousness in God’s sight. It wasn’t in the sight of the church, or man, his neighbor, his friend or even before himself. Abraham found righteousness before God, righteousness before the righteous God, holiness before the thrice holy Lord God! He found perfect righteousness and perfect holiness before God.
This righteousness was counted to him, charged to him, imputed to him, reckoned to be his by God himself. The words “reckoned,” “counted,” and “imputed” in this fourth chapter of Romans all come from the same Greek word. It is used eleven times in this chapter. But why did our translators translate the same word three different ways in the same chapter? They did so because the word carries those the sense of all three words. The word “impute” is not a legal term, but an accounting term. Because he believed God, God declared to Abraham that he was righteous. Righteousness was consciously imputed to him.
· I repeat, Abraham was righteous before God from eternity, being accepted and justified, holy and righteous in Christ the Beloved, his Surety, from everlasting (Ephesians 1:3-6; Romans 8:29-30).
· But Abraham knew nothing about that which God did in eternity until he believed God.
· When he believed God, God said to Abraham, you are righteous, redeemed, justified, accepted, holy, righteous, sanctified, and justified in my Son.
· Abraham’s faith in God did not produce righteousness. It received it! He did not produced righteousness when he believed God. He found it!
Abraham was a sinner like you and me. He was a man of like passions, just like you and me. Abraham lived on the earth. Abraham sinned. He was flesh. He was fallen, frail flesh, just like you and me. Yet, he walked with God. He had righteousness and holiness in God’s sight. That is what he had. He was accepted of God. He was justified before God.
God looked upon Abraham and saw no sin. How in this world, did Abraham, who was a sinner like you and me, find such treasure? How did he find it and where did he find it? Who gave it to him? How did he find justification before God? How did this guilty sinner become not guilty? He could say, “I have no sin before God. I have am holy before God. God accepts me.” How could that be? How do you find this before a Holy God? The apostle Paul answers it in verse three.
(Romans 4:3) For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
Look at this next question. — “What saith the Scripture?” — That is all we have to go by. — “What saith the Scripture?” The Scripture says, “Abraham believed God.” It doesn’t say that Abraham joined the church, Abraham tithed, Abraham kept the Sabbath Day, or Abraham wore certain clothes. The scripture does not say that Abraham counted beads, or Abraham went to a confessional booth, or was baptized. It doesn’t say that Abraham had an experience, or Abraham went to an old fashion altar, it says “Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness.” He had justification, acceptance, and holiness. He believed God. That is it! Abraham believed God. We read that in Genesis 15:6.
Do you believe God? I’m not asking you if you believe in God, or if there is a God. I am asking you is this: “Do you believe God? Do you believe him? I am not even asking what you believe about God. I am asking, “Do you believe God?”
God revealed himself to Abraham; and Abraham believed God. That’s right. God has been pleased to reveal himself. He has been pleased to reveal his will, his covenant, his purpose, himself, his mercy, and his salvation. He has been pleased to reveal himself. A man can know God, you know. Eternal life is knowing God. A man really can know God because God has not left himself without a witness. He has revealed himself.
Now, understand this. — Abraham believed God’s revelation of himself. When we read that Abraham believed God, the Holy Ghost is telling us that Abraham believed God as he revealed himself to him. There are two ways in which God has revealed himself. One way is by his Word, and the other is by his Son. That’s it. God reveals himself by his Word and by his Son.
The Lord gave us his Word. That is what the Bible is, the Word of God. — “Thus saith the Lord.” All Scripture is God breathed. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, because God breathed it.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17) All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (17) That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
(2 Peter 1:21) For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
(1 Peter 1:23-25) Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever. (24) For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: (25) But the word of the Lord endureth forever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.
Our Lord Jesus Christ said, in John 17, “I have given them thy Word; and they have received it.” Do you believe God’s Word?
You have a Bible in front of you. Don’t you? You have in your hand the Word of God! Do you believe it? That is what I am asking you, do you believe it? Is it just a Book of Proverbs and moralisms, laws and religious ceremonies? Is it a scrapbook where you keep locks of hair, old pressed flowers, photographs, or old poems that you like? Or is it God’s Word? Do you really believe God’s Word?
Isaiah said, “If they speak not according to this Word it is because there is no light in them.” Yes, God has given us his Word; and I believe the Word of God. Abraham believed the Word of God.
(Romans 4:21-22) And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. (22) And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.
God spoke to Abraham; and “Abraham believed God.” He believed His Word.
The Lord God has been pleased to reveal himself by his Son. He sent his Son into the world. He has given us his Word; and he has given us his Son (John 1:11-18; Hebrews 1:1-3).
(John 1:11-18) He came unto his own, and his own received him not. (12) But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: (13) Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (14) And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (15) John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. (16) And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. (17) For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. (18) No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
(Hebrews 1:1-3) God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, (2) Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; (3) Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.
Our Savior said, “I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy Word.” God’s own Son came into the world and spoke to us. He said, “I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me.”
(John 1:18) No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
(1 John 5:20) And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.
Do you believe God? Do you believe his Word? Do you believe his Son? — “Dost thou believe on the Son of God?” I know the heavens declare the glory of God. I know that the stars, the sun, the moon, and the things that are made declare the wisdom, glory, power, and greatness of God. David said, “When I consider the heavens, the things which thou hast made, what is man that thou art mindful of him?” But the only way you can know God is by his Word and in his Son. To believe God is to believe his Word. To believe God is to trust his Son. To believe God is to believe God’s revelation of himself in his Word and in his Son.
Listen to me. There is only way you can find out if God will forgive sin and show mercy to the guilty. There is only one way you can find out whether God will pardon. There is only one way you can find out if God will save, and how he saves. It is not by looking to the sun, moon, and stars, but by looking at his Word and his Son, looking at his Son revealed in his Word.
You can’t know the mercy of God, the justice of God, the righteousness of God, the purpose of God, the will of God, and the holiness of God by looking at the stars. You find by God’s Word what he says about himself. You find what he says about you and me, what he says about mercy, and what he says about his Son who came to reveal him. His Son said, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.”
You see Christ in his compassion, yet you see Christ in his judgment. You see Christ in his mercy, love, and grace. You see Christ in his holiness, justice, and truth. Father is revealed by the Son. — “He hath given us an understanding.”
“Behold the Word of the Lord came unto Abraham!” — Christ the Word spoke the Word of God! — When he did, he told Abraham about…
· His redemption and calling. — “I brought you out.”
· The Sacrifice he accepted.
· A Covenant he made.
Examples of Faith
My friends, this is the very essence of salvation and eternal life. — “Abraham believed God.” He believed him. He believed his Word, and he believed his Son. Let me show you some examples of this in the Book of God.
Do you remember when Paul was out on a ship? A storm had risen, the wind was blowing, the waves were high, and the ship was about to sink. The men wanted to abandon the ship. They felt that they stood a better chance out there in the waves, hanging onto a board than they would staying on the ship and going down with it. Paul said, “Sirs, be of good cheer, there stood by me this night, the angel of the Lord, whose I am and whom I serve, he said to me, Paul, not one person will be lost.” The ship will be lost but not one person. Did He say, “Sirs, I believe there is a God?” Did He say, “Sirs, I believe in God?” No he didn’t! He said, “Sirs, I believe God that it shall be exactly as He told me.”
Do you see what I am saying? Do you see the difference? I really believe it; so we’ll stay on the ship. We don’t move; we wait on God. “I believe it shall be exactly as he told me.” That is what I am saying. True faith is the essence of it, and the substance of it. It is in the heart, truthfully, that effects the actions, that affects the walk, which affects the responses, and affects the experience. It starts with this, “I believe God.”
I believe his Word, I believe his Son. That is it! That was demonstrated by the children of Israel down in Egypt, when God said to Moses, “I’m coming through at midnight. He said that the first born in every home would die. He told Moses to kill a lamb, roast it with fire, eat the flesh and put the blood on the door. When I come to the land, and see the blood, I will pass over you.” Those who believed God’s Word put blood on the door and they were spared. Those who didn’t put blood on the door, died. It was a matter of believing.
Do you believe God? Rahab the harlot did. When God was about to destroy the city of Jericho, she hid the spies, the men of God. She said, “I know God is with you and I know that God is going to take the land.” She said, “Will you spare me?” They said to her, “God says for you to put a scarlet line out the window. Hang it out the window. When we come to the city, you and your family stay in the house, and do not go outside. If you go outside, you are done for, so stay in the house. Put red line out the window.” And Rahab believed God.
Preacher, how do you know that she believed him? She put the red line out the window. She stayed in the house. And she was spared. She believed his Word. That was it. Rahab the harlot believe God!
Then, there was a man named Lot. God said, “Flee the city, I am going to destroy the city of Sodom and Gomorrah. Don’t look back.” Lot and his two daughters fled the city and didn’t look back. Lot believed God. His wife turned and looked back. She perished.
Faith is believing God. I am trying to show you that it is not believing that there is a God and believing certain things about God, it is actually to believing him, believing his Word, believing his Revelation of himself. It is not feeling something, or doing something, or going somewhere, or saying something, or changing something, or learning something. Faith is believing God!
I’m telling you, Salvation is believing God! This is a personal heart experience. It is the work and operation of God the Holy Ghost in the soul.
· Not Emotionalism!
· Not Decisionism!
· Not Ritualism!
· Not Intellectualism!
· Not Reformation!
Salvation is believing God!
(Philippians 3:1-3) Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe. (2) Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. (3) For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.
Faith is not dependent on atmosphere. It is not created by music, men, and methods. Faith comes by the revelation of God in his Word and in his Son, the revelation of God in your soul by his Word, by his Son, by the operation of his Spirit!
What hath Abraham found? He found acceptance, justification and righteousness. How did he find it? He believed God. God revealed himself to Abraham by his own Word to him. And when the Lord God spoke his Word to Abraham he spoke to him about…
And “Abraham believed God!”
God Almighty says, “He that believeth hath everlasting life.” I believe. That means that I have everlasting life. That’s it! God Almighty says, “He that believeth on the Son is not condemned.” I believe on the Son. I am not condemned. God Almighty says, “All that the Father giveth me will come to me and him that cometh I will in no wise cast out.” I come to Christ and he won’t cast me out. God Almighty says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” I believe, therefore I am assured that I am saved. It is not by works, but by faith.
The soul that on Jesus
Hath leaned for repose
I will not, I will not,
Desert to its foes
That soul though all hell
Should endeavor to shake
I’ll never, no never,
No never, forsake.
Do you believe God?
Illustration: Barnard at Old Faithful