3 June 2000

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report"-Hebrews 11:1,2 Not only did Abraham's great faith enable him to obey God as he walked away from all that he knew, it altered the way he looked at life. After his conversation with God, Abraham could no longer call earth his home. He resided as a stranger, "By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God"-Heb. 11:9-10. Sojourn means to reside as a stranger. Though Abraham enjoyed the earthly promises that God had made him, he looked not upon them as permanent. He began to feel a little uncomfortable here. He no longer saw earth as a permanent residence! FAITH ALTERS OUR AFFECTIONS Having been touched by the divine hand and moved by the heavenly call Abraham's affections and eyesight had been altered. Is it not so? Just one spiritual experience with God changes the whole outlook on life. This world is not all there is. There is something better, much better which lies before us. God is alive and he has taken knowledge of us. We begin to anticipate that day when we shall dwell with Him on high. One taste of honey desires a second, one experience with the Lord causes us to hunger for many others, even better, the continual and unending fellowship with God on high. All that this world has to offer seems less important. Earth's riches pale into insignificance when compared to heaven's glories. The word "tabernacle" is very suggestive. It means a tent, something that is folded up and moved from place to place. As we trace Abraham's life, it seems that he could find no place, even in the land of promise, that could fill his spiritual needs. He could find no place to call home. He wandered about all of his life pitching his tent from place to place. That is surely the lot of the faithful. As the song goes, "This world is not my home, I'm just a passing through". A KINDRED EXPERIENCE Abraham was not alone in his experience. Isaac and Jacob are both mentioned in our text. They experienced their wilderness wanderings and dwelt in their tents as well. The seed of the faithful is here represented. God has always provided Himself faithful witnesses since creation, other faithful men and women who would not call earth their home. As they sojourned through the land of promise they confessed that they were strangers and a pilgrims(v. 13). A stranger is a person away from home and a pilgrim is a person looking for a home. Being away from home is a lonely feeling. Such feelings will be experienced by God's faithful. Their inward longing is heavenly. They begin to look for a better place of residence, the lot of the pilgrim. Is that not the hope and desire of every believer, to dwell with the Lord in glory? Surely, all of God's faithful have shared this kindred experience from time to time. The greater the sorrows and afflictions in this world, the more God's faithful are made to look and long for their heavenly abode. THE INVISIBLE CITY Abraham "looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God." Unseen by the natural eye, this city is just as real as Chicago or New York. It may only be seen by the eye of faith. And when these cities are gone, God's city will be situated and inhabited by the faithful because it has been built by the great invisible builder who may only be seen by the eye of faith: God! The Lord willing, we will continue our discussion of "The Faith of Our Fathers' next week. Come and worship with us at Harmony Primitive Baptist Church, in Donaldson, where God is sovereign, and salvation is by His abundant and amazing grace. Visit our web page at www.primitivebaptist.org/donaldson/ Singing begins at 10:30 each Sunday morning followed by preaching at 11:00. By His mercy and grace, Neil Phelan, Jr., Pastor