Rev. Ronald C. Purkey claims no originality for this Bible study outline.
However, every Bible study posted on this website has been taught by Rev. Purkey.
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SCRIPTURE: Genesis 15:1-6, 17-21
A. Why Does The Lord Choose To Do “The Impossible” On Some Occasions But Not Others?
1. For example, why did the apostle Paul survive many brushes with death?
2. Another example, why was Stephen was immediately killed by stoning?
B. We Do Not Have All The Answers, But We Do Have Some.
1. For one thing, we know that what the Lord wills for one Christian is not always what He wills for another.
2. And we can see in Scripture how He can use tragic circumstances (such as Stephen’s stoning) for great purposes (the spread of the Gospel beyond Jerusalem).
3. This week’s Bible study offers a memorable glimpse into the joy that comes when God’s people learn to move from knowledge to faith.
Quotes On Faith
faith, nothing is possible. With it,
nothing is impossible." -- Mary McLeod Bethune (1875 - 1955),
2. "To me, faith is not just a noun but also a verb." -- Jimmy Carter, 39th U.S. President, B&P
3. "Unbelief puts our circumstance between us and God, but faith puts God between us and our circumstances." -- F.B. Meyer
4. "There is nothing, indeed, which God will not do for a man who dares to step out upon what seems to be the mist; though as he puts his foot down he finds a rock beneath him." -- F.B. Meyer; SermonCentral.com 8/3/04
5. "God does not expect us to submit our faith to him without reason, but the very limits of our reason make faith a necessity." -- Augustine
6. "Faith expects from God what is beyond all expectation." -- Andrew Murray; SermonCentral.com newsletter, 6/23/03
7. “Faith is unutterable trust in God, trust which never dreams that He will not stand by us.” -- Oswald Chambers
8. "The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith; and the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety." -- George Muller, SermonCentral 7/27/04
9. "Faith means believing in advance what will only make sense in reverse." -- Philip Yancey
10. "Faith alone saves, but the faith that saves is never alone.” -- Charles Swindoll
11. "Faith is not the belief that God will do what you want. It is the belief that God will do what is right." -- Max Lucado – Author, Internet: Bits & Pieces
I. ABRAM’S ACCEPTANCE OF GOD’S PLEDGE. (Genesis 15:1-6)
INSIGHT: In Genesis 14, Abram has just defeated four kings, rescued his nephew Lot who had been kidnapped, and been blessed by a mysterious priest (Melchizedek) who (according to the writer of Hebrews) was a foreshadowing of Jesus Christ. But for some reason, Abram was afraid. So the Lord calls out to Abram in his fear.
A. God Is Abram’s Reward (Genesis 15:1-3)
1. The Voice Of The Father. (Genesis 15:1)
(Genesis 15:1) After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.
a. A voice of peace. “Fear not.”
b. A voice of power. “I am thy shield.”
c. A voice of promise. “... and thy exceeding great reward.”
2. The Victory Of Faith. (Genesis 15:2-3)
a. Abram’s desire. (Genesis 15:2)
(Genesis 15:2) And Abram said, LORD God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?
What Abram is saying to the Lord is this: “I don’t want more riches; I don’t need that. The thing that’s on my heart is that I’m childless and I want a son. God, You have promised to make me a father of nations and that my offspring will be as numberless as the sand on the seashore.”
b. Abram’s reality. (Genesis 15:3)
(Genesis 15:3) And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.
“But I don’t have even one child!” According to the law of that day, the Code of Hammurabi, Eliezer, his steward, his head servant, who had an offspring, would in time inherit if Abram did not have a child.
B. Abram’s Biological Heir (Genesis 15:4-6)
1. Faith Is Strengthened By Revelation. (Genesis 15:4-5)
a. The Lord does the leading. (Genesis 15:4)
(Genesis 15:4) And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.
Now the Lord took Abram by the hand and brought him forth into the light. The Lord is very practical when a man will be practical with Him. The Lord says, “I am going to give you a son, Abram. I am going to give you a son!”
b. The Lord does the impossible. (Genesis 15:5)
(Genesis 15:5) And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.
This is remarkable. God said to him that his offspring would be as numberless as the stars in heaven. Abram could not number the stars. He could see approximately four thousand, but there were probably over fifty thousand in that area where he was looking. Abram couldn’t number his offspring, and you couldn’t do it today.
Sons of Abraham
By Vernon McGee
Vernon McGee has said: “This man Abraham actually has two seeds. He has a physical seed, the nation Israel, and he has a spiritual seed, the church.
How does the church become Abraham’s spiritual seed? By faith. Paul told the Galatians that they were the sons of Abraham by faith in Jesus Christ -- not in a natural line, but a spiritual seed (see Galatians 3:29).”
“I had the privilege of speaking to a group of very fine young Jewish men many years ago in Nashville, Tennessee. I had known some of them before I was saved and had been a very close friend of theirs. I spoke on the glories of the Mosaic law and told them that the fulfillment of it was in Christ.
I began by telling them I was glad to speak to them because I knew that they were sons of Abraham. But when I told them I was a son of Abraham also, they looked in amazement one to another. And then I told them how I was a son of Abraham. Included in God’s promise were these two seeds of Abraham, and this is a very wonderful truth.” – Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee
2. Faith Issues In Righteousness. (Genesis 15:6)
(Genesis 15:6) And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.
a. Abram’s faith.
Abram believed God. The Hebrew word here (Genesis 15:4-6) means “to be certain.” It focuses our attention on the absolute trustworthiness of the object of Abram’s faith, and expresses Abram’s own firm conviction that God’s promise to him was reliable. Abram’s belief in God is held up in Scripture as an example of saving faith. Abram (1) examined the circumstances, (2) recognized the human impossibility of fathering a child with Sarai, and (3) yet remained convinced that God could and would do what He promised.
b. God’s promise.
“Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform” (Romans 4:18-21).
c. Our salvation.
This verse (Genesis 15:6) reminds us that a similar faith-won righteousness is credited to us when we too are “fully persuaded that God [has] power to do what He [has] promised” us in Christ.
II. GOD’S CONFIRMATION OF THE COVENANT. (Genesis 15:17-21)
A. God Made A Unilateral Covenant. (Genesis 15:17)
(Genesis 15:17) And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces.
The ritual the Lord used to establish this unilateral Covenant was to have a torch and smoking pot (i.e., the Lord Himself) pass between the pieces of the sacrificial animals.
This act "sealed the agreement between God and Abram” -- Abram's descendants would positively inherit the Promised Land in the future, just as the Lord had promised. (Abram was sleeping and never passed through the path of the sacrifices.)
INSIGHT: Both of these (a smoking furnace and a burning lamp) picture Jesus Christ. The furnace, of course, speaks of judgment. The lamp speaks of Him as the light of the world.
B. God Gave The Promised Land To Israel. (Genesis 15:18-21)
(Genesis 15:18-21) In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims, And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.
The Lord now marks out the land that He is promising to Abram. By the way, what did Abram promise to do? Nothing. He believed the Lord. And the Lord will save you -- save you by grace -- if you will believe what He has done for you.
[Joseph] left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out. – Genesis 39:12
What if Joseph had succumbed to the advances of Potiphar’s wife (Genesis 39)? Imagine how he could have justified his sin. “But God, You don’t want me to be unhappy, and you know how lonely it is here. Besides, I think I really love her.”
What if Abram had disobeyed when God told him to leave Ur and head for parts unknown (Genesis 12). What if he had said, “But God, I’m established here. I can’t afford to risk everything on an uncertain future. I’ve got to watch out for Sarai. I’m staying.”
Praise God that Joseph and Abram did the right thing. Joseph fled temptation; he ran from sin. Abram left Ur; he journeyed in obedience.
In life, we face both of these kinds of choices. Sometimes temptation rises up in front of us. When it does, we can either run and reap God’s rewards -- or we can give in, reap the sad consequences, and then make sorry excuses. Sometimes we sense that God is leading us in a particular direction. We can choose either to follow Him and trust His omniscience-or we can offer flimsy excuses and live a life of disobedience.
The abundant life of godliness is far better than a life of excuses and despair. Let’s live so that we won’t give in to the desire to say, “But God . . .”
– Adapted from Dave Branon, Our Daily Bread.
· How is your faith today? Maybe like Abram you are sitting looking at your life and wondering: "How?"; "Why?"; "What?"; "When?"
· Listen, the Lord is not afraid of your questions.
1. He is not opposed to your asking them.
2. All He is looking for is that person who will come before Him in faith.
· The Lord is looking for that person who will simply take Him at His Word and believe Him, regardless of how things look or how they may personally feel about the matter.
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER:
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REFERENCES: References used in these Bible studies are the King James Bible (KJV), The Moody Bible Commentary, Dr. J. Vernon McGee © Thru the Bible Radio Network ( www.ttb.org ), the Scofield Study Bible, the Believer’s Bible Commentary, Dr. Charles J. Woodbridge Bible Outlines, Dr. Lee Roberson’s Sermons, Dr. Charles Stanley: ( http://www.intouch.org/ ), Don Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Women’s Study Bible, The Bible Reader’s Companion Ed. 3, The Nelson Study Bible: New King James Version, KJV Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the New Testament ed. 4, Dr. David Jeremiah: ( http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/ ), Dr. Cliff Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the Old Testament, Dr. Alan Carr’s The Sermon Notebook ( www.sermonnotebook.org ), With the Word Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s “Be” Series: Old & New Testaments, RBC Ministries ( http://rbc.org/ ), selected illustrations, and other references.
REV. RONALD PURKEY’S OFFICE
E-mail: Ronald Purkey