Hebrews 11:1, Faith

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." (Heb. 11:1).

  1. Faith is an important word in the Bible. Faith is where the Promises and Work of God are made real to His redeemed.
    1. Ephesians 2:8-9, We are saved by faith.
    2. Rom. 1:17, We live by faith.
    3. Rom. 4:13, We receive righteousness by faith.
    4. Rom. 5:1, We are justified in Christ by faith.
    5. Rom. 5:2, We have access to God's grace by faith.
    6. 2 Cor. 1:24, We stand firm in our belief by faith.
    7. Gal. 3:14, We receive the promise of the Spirit by faith.
    8. 1 Tim. 1:4, We do God's work by faith.
    9. Gal. 5:5, We wait for the return of Christ by faith.
    10. Indeed, faith is very important; it is vital to the Christian.
  2. What is Faith?
    1. According to Webster's Dictionary faith is "an unquestioning belief that does not require proof or evidence."
    2. Though Webster's Dictionary says we don't need evidence to have faith, as Christians, we do have evidence for our faith.
        1. We have the Bible: 66 books, 40 authors, written in 3 languages over 1600 years, prophecy, and moral and spiritual truth.
        2. We have the resurrection of Jesus--confidence in His words and evidence of God's truth in our lives.
      1. The nearest definition we have in the Bible of what faith is is found right here in Hebrews 11:1
      2. The NIV says, "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."
      3. The KJV and the NKJV say, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
      4. The RSV, NRSV and NASB each says, "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."
        1. Literally the Greek of Hebrews 11:1 says, "Now faith is the reality of things being hoped for, the proof of things not being seen."
        2. But the English does not carry the full meaning of the verse. That is why it is good to examine several translations of the verse to try to get a better understanding.
    3. An important point, though, is that faith is only as good as the object in which it is placed.
      1. All the faith in the world in someone false won't help you.
  3. But how does faith affect your lives?
    1. You get in the car and drive on faith. You don't know if you're going to make it to your destination alive or not, but you go.
    2. You have faith that the food you buy that is grown by strangers is not harmful, so you eat it.
    3. You have faith that the doctors you see are competent. So you put yourself in their hands.
    4. If you did not have faith, if you did not trust others you wouldn't be able to drive, eat, or get help in times of sickness. Your life would be very difficult.
    5. Let's look at this chapter a bit and see how faith affected the people of God.
    6. Hebrews 11:4 says, "By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead." (NIV)
      1. We do not know many details of Abel's faith.
        1. We do not know just how much was revealed to him.
      2. But we do know that his faith caused him to worship God.
        1. He picked the best of his flock to sacrifice to God. "and Abel brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering;" (Genesis 4:4, RSV).
        2. He brought it to the place of sacrifice. It was natural for Abel's faith in God to manifest itself in a blood sacrifice, a sacrifice that pointed to the Messiah.
      3. It was natural for Abel to worship.
        1. There is something wrong with the Christian who does not worship.
        2. Faith looks for opportunities to worship.
  4. Faith made Enoch walk with God, v. 5
    1. "By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God" (Hebrews 11:5, NIV).
    2. In Genesis it says, "And after he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. 23Altogether, Enoch lived 365 years. 24Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away" (Genesis 5:22-24).
    3. Your walk will change if you continue to trust in Christ.
      1. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" (NIV).
    4. Enoch pleased God. Is God pleased with you?
      1. Is God pleased with the places you choose for recreation?
      2. Is God pleased with the books you read? with what you watch on T.V.?
      3. Is God pleased with the words you use? the conversations you have?
      4. Is God pleased with the plans you''ve made for your future?
    5. Enoch's walk of faith delivered him from death.
      1. Your walk of faith has already delivered you from death, the death called damnation.
      2. Your faith is in Jesus; therefore, there is no death to come to you.
  5. Faith made Noah work for God, v. 7.
    1. We have in Gen. 6, the tragic story of the decline of humanity into sin.
    2. But God's grace triumphs: God saves Noah (v. 8).
    3. In Noah, his faith manifested itself in real works. James 2:26 says, "As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead."
      1. Noah built an ark because he believed in God.
      2. Every swing of his axe said, "faith."
      3. Every felled tree said, "faith."
      4. Every swing of his hammer said, "faith."
    4. Faith will make you work today.
    5. Faith is not something for long ago--for trusting in Jesus for salvation and not trusting Him for anything else. It means you trust Him for everything--even when it is difficult sometimes. It means that every day you continue to trust Him and that you continue to manifest the fruit of your faith.
      1. Caring, sharing, witnessing, forgiving, helping, etc. In these things you please God.
      2. Hebrews 11:6 "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him" (NIV).
      3. Faith connects you to God; it is your admission that you are dependent upon Him; that your hope is in Him. It pleases Him, because it is He you are trusting and no one and nothing else.
  6. Much more could be said about this chapter. By faith Abraham, by faith Isaac, by faith Jacob, by faith Joseph, by faith Moses, by faith Rehab,
    1. By faith: we understand the universe was formed; people offered sacrifices; humanity was saved; people left their lands and moved; blessings were given; people were freed; death was escaped; and walls fell; and verse 32 "And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets," (NIV).

Conclusion

Faith is vitally important in the life of the Christian. It is by faith that you are saved, you are justified, cleansed, and look forward to the return of Jesus. Faith is where you please God, admit your dependence upon Him, and continually seek to rely upon Him and His grace. I would like to close by asking you these questions: "What has faith changed in your life? What are faith's evidences in your life? Is faith growing in your life?


Hebrews 11:1-40

1Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. 2This is what the ancients were commended for.

3By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

4By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And By faith he still speaks, even though he is dead.

5By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. 6And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

7By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes By faith.

8By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

11By faith Abraham, even though he was past age and Sarah herself was barren was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.

13All these people were still living By faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. 14People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16Instead, they were longing for a better country a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

17By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18even though God had said to him, "It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned." 19Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death.

20By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.

21By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph's sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.

22By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions about his bones.

23By faith Moses' parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king's edict.

24By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. 25He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. 26He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. 27By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king's anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. 28By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.

29By faith the people passed through the Red Sea {That is, Sea of Reeds} as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.

30By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the people had marched around them for seven days.

31By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.

32And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, 33who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. 35Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. 36Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. 37They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated 38the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.

39These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. 40God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

 

 

 

 
 
CARM ison
 
 
CARM.org
Copyright 2014

CONTACT US:
CARM Office number: 208-466-1301
Office hours: M-F; 9-5 pm; Mountain Time
Email: [email protected]
Mailing Address: CARM, PO BOX 1353, Nampa ID 83653