When Faith Is Tested (Genesis 22:1-19)Dr Daryl Miller, October 23, 2016
Part of the The Need for Tall Heroes series, preached at a Sunday Evening service
SUNDAY EVENING, OCTOBER 23
Title: When Faith Is Tested
Text: " By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called” (Heb. 11:17?–?18 ).
Scripture Reading: Genesis 22:1 - 19
Tests, trials, worries, disappointments, and frustrations are a part of every human life. We read in the Scriptures that Abraham was tested by God to bring out the good that was in him and to give him a tremendous testimony before his contemporaries. The manner in which Abraham was tested reveals something unique about the God of the Hebrews.
Let us look at some of the ways we are tested.
I. People are tested by Satan.
When Satan puts a person to the test, he does so to bring out evil. His motive is to hurt and destroy. It is interesting to note that our Lord was tempted and was victorious over these temptations that were designed to destroy him and to wreck God’s great redemptive plan. Satan uses the same methods to tempt us today.
A. He promised Christ plenty if Christ would follow his suggestions (Matt. 4:3). People still desire pleasure, material goods, power, and other worldly things, and the devil has suggestions by which he promises us plenty.
B. He promises popularity and acceptance by our contemporaries if we follow his suggestions (Matt. 4:4?–?6). Satan suggested that Christ could accomplish his purpose by putting on an extravaganza. Satan comes to us with subtle suggestions that will lead us astray if we follow his guidance.
C. He comes to us with the promise of painless success if we will but follow his suggestions (Matt. 4:8?–?9). Satan was trying to tell Christ that it was unnecessary for him to suffer the ordeal of the cross in order to cause the kingdoms of this world to become the kingdom of God.
Satan comes to us with all kinds of suggestions for shortcuts and substitutes for the right way. When Satan puts us through a trial or test, it is always to hurt and destroy.
II. People are tested by people.
One of the highest faculties with which we are endowed is the capacity to make judgments.
A. A variety of tests is utilized to eliminate the incompetent and the counterfeit. Some method of testing must be used, or we can be destroyed by people who would deceive us.
B. A variety of tests is given to discover the capable and to reveal the genuine.
C. A variety of tests is used to evaluate progress toward a desired goal in training or in the struggle of life.
D. A variety of tests is applied to develop character and leadership potential. These tests are used in the business world, and they are also used in the spiritual realm.
III. People are tested by God.
God needs people on whom he can depend. God needs people with whom he can trust the rich gifts of the Spirit for the good of others. God may not immediately reveal his purpose for testing people, but we can be assured that he has their best interests at heart.
A. The tests that come from God are designed by his love for us (James 1:2). A test that comes from God is a vote of divine confidence in us and is motivated by his love for us as he seeks to build character in us.
B. The tests that come from God are never beyond our power to conquer with divine help (1 Cor. 10:13). When God leads us into a difficult spot, he always promises his presence with us and his power to assist us if we will but trust him and be faithful to him.
C. The tests that come from God enable us to live more abundantly and to serve more effectively. Abraham became a greater man because he was faithful to God when God put him to the test.
D. The tests that come from God speak powerfully to people who will listen.
1. God is faithful and dependable, and we can trust him to be with us in every test and trial.
2. God is gracious and merciful, and every test is designed to bring out the good in us.
3. The tests reveal that God requires our very best.
4. The tests reveal that God is wise because he gives an appropriate test for each of us.
5. The tests reveal that God has a redemptive purpose for each of us and that he wants to use us to be a blessing to others.
The test to which God put Abraham reveals that God wants our best, deserves our best, and always is near to us with purposes of love as we face these tests. This experience of Abraham reveals that God is the great giver and that we cannot outgive God.
When God comes to test us, let us trust him and obey him no matter what (Heb. 2:18).
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