Sermon Notes and Slides
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Abraham Believed the Lord
Dr. Tony Chute, Lead Pastor
Overview: The promises that God made to Abraham did not immediately materialize, thus raising questions in Abraham’s mind about how they would be fulfilled. The Lord reassures Abraham of His faithfulness by pointing to His character and directing Abraham’s attention to His creative power. Without any additional evidence, Abraham believed God and was counted righteous before the Lord. God further confirmed His promises by making a covenant with Abraham through an ancient ritual that underscored the Lord’s commitment to bless Abraham and his descendants through even the most difficult circumstances. The original audience would have known that the promises of long ago still applied to them. The fact that this passage appears three times in the New Testament to establish the doctrine of justification by faith reminds us all today of the importance of taking God at His Word.
01. Saving faith is required for sinners to be counted righteous before God; such faith includes biblical content, intellectual assent, and personal commitment.
02. Sanctifying faith may falter when God’s promises are slow to develop, but God’s character, creative power, and covenantal purposes assure us that He is faithful.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION & DISCOVERY
1. Note the reference to “after these things” in 15:1. What events transpired from chapters 12-14 that contributed to Abraham questioning if/how the promises would be fulfilled? What is the significance of God referring to Himself as Abraham’s “shield” and “very great reward”?
2. Can you picture Abraham looking at the stars in light of God’s promises? What encouragement can we draw from this text as we look at the stars and know that God kept His promise to Abraham? What other means of encouragement do you find as you consider the faithfulness of God?
3. What is the significance of Abraham being counted righteous by believing God? How does the New Testament use this passage to underscore the importance of justification by faith? See Romans 1:16-17; 4:3, 22; Galatians 3:6; and James 2:23 for further insight.
4. What is the purpose of the covenant ceremony in Genesis 15:9-21? Why does Abraham cut the animals in half? What is the symbolism of the smoking fire pot and flaming torch passing between the animal pieces? How does this ancient ceremony indicate that God will fulfill His promises? What other means does God use today to confirm His covenant with us in Christ? See Romans 6:1-5 and Luke 22:14-20 for further insight.
5. Why did God reveal to Abraham that his descendants would be “sojourners in a land that is not theirs” and afflicted there for four hundred years? How would the original audience benefit by knowing that God predicted their sojourn in Egypt many centuries prior? How can your faith be strengthened by knowing that God knows the future and guides all of history to achieve His purposes? See Hebrews 11 for further insight.
For Further Reading: D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Gospel in Genesis: From Fig Leaves to Faith (Crossway, 2009)