Growing Strong in Trusting His Promises – Romans 4:17-21

ASPIRE: How do we grow strong in our faith?  How do I strengthen my capacity to trust the Lord?

1.         We grow strong in faith as we know what “is written” (v.17).  One must know well God’s promises before you can trust them.  You must know someone well before you have a greater capacity to trust them fully. 

2.       We grow strong in faith as we praise and worship God.  Abraham “grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God.”  What does it look like to give glory to God? Well, one thing for sure is that we get our eyes off of ourselves and the greatness of our problems and put them on the greatness of our God and His promises.

3.        We grow strong in faith as we refuse to allow our circumstances to dictate our emotional state and feelings.  Appearances can most often be deceiving and misleading. They were with Abraham and Sarai. They were at the cross of Jesus, and they will be in your life as well.

This passage sets forth two options for us.  One is wavering in faith.  Another is growing strong in faith.  There is no other option for those of us who follow the Lord Jesus Christ.  One is the pathway of walking by sight.  The other is the pathway of walking by faith.  Both types of people are aware of the same promises of God.  It appears that Abraham had plenty of opportunity to either grow weak (v.19) in his faith or to grow strong (v.20).  When he lied about Sarah, he was wavering in unbelief.  When he heeded Sarai’s counsel about going into Hagar, he was wavering in unbelief.  When he offered Isaac, he was strong in faith.  This see-saw story of the “friend of God” is our story, my story, your story. 

In a meeting with a small group of missionaries in China, Hudson Taylor, founder of the China Inland Mission (now Overseas Missionary Fellowship) reminded them that there were three ways to do God’s work:

“One is to make the best plans we can and carry them out to the best of our ability.

Two, carefully lay out our plans and determine to carry them through, we may even ask God to help us and to prosper us in connection with them.

Three, another way of working is to begin with God; to ask His plans, and to offer ourselves to Him to carry out His purposes.”              

— Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor, Biography of James Hudson Taylor (London: China Inland Mission, 1965), p. 271.

Adore our Promise-Keeping God – Romans 4:17-21

17 as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. 18 In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Rom. 4:17–21). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

ADORE: What do I see in this passage for which I can praise the Lord?

1.         God is able to do what He promises. He told me I would be a father of a multitude.  Therefore it will happen even in my old age. 

2.        God is able to do what is humanly impossible…He gives life to the dead.  An old couple gets pregnant and has a baby.  Spiritually dead people are born again into a living hope.  He speaks things into existence that do not exist.  A son called ‘Laughter’ is born to an old couple.

Growing Strong in Faith – Romans 4:17-21

As it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”–in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. 18In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” 19He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. 20No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.

This passage sets forth two options for us.  One is wavering in faith.  Another is growing strong in faith.  There is no other option for those of us who follow the Lord Jesus Christ.  One is the pathway of walking by sight.  The other is the pathway of walking by faith.  Both types of people are aware of the same promises of God.  It appears that Abraham had plenty of opportunity to either grow weak (v.19) in his faith or to grow strong (v.20).

When he lied about Sarah, he was wavering in unbelief.  When he heeded Sarai’s counsel about going into Hagar, he was wavering in unbelief.  When he offered Isaac, he was strong in faith.  This see-saw story of the “friend of God” is our story, my story, your story.

Confession:  Lord, how easy it is to waver in unbelief concerning Your promises!  Am I “fully convinced” that You can do what seems humanly impossible?  NO!

Do I really believe that you can cause your church to grow numerically and spiritually in a substantial way?   Do you I really believe that you can heal and restore troubled marriages? Do I really believe that you can reclaim the wayward teenagers from the covenant families in your church? Do I really believe that you can raise up the necessary funding to cause Your missionary enterprise to flourish? Do I really believe that you can move in the hearts of single men and women to draw them together in marriage?

How does one grow strong in faith?  How do we strengthen our capacity to trust the Lord?

1. One important component of growing strong in faith is knowing what “is written” (v.17).  One must know well God’s promises before you can trust them.  You must know someone well before you have a greater capacity to trust them fully.

2. Another component of growing strong in faith appears to be praising and worshipping God.  Abraham “grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God.”  What does it look like to give glory to God?

3. Another aspect of growing strong in faith is not allowing our circumstances to dictate our emotional state and feelings.  Appearances can most often be deceiving and misleading.

What do I know to be true of God from this passage?

1. God is able to do what He promises. He told me I would be a father of a multitude.  Therefore it will happen even in my old age.

2. God is able to do what is humanly impossible. “He gives life to the dead.”  An old couple gets pregnant and has a baby.  Spiritually dead people are born again into a living hope.  He speaks things into existence that do not exist.  A son called ‘Laughter’ is born to an old couple.