Support I.B.C
Hebrews 11 and the nature of faith
Hebrews 11 and the nature of faith

Last week we considered the warning of Hebrews 6:1-12 and Hebrews 10:19-31 - to not abandon, renounce, or disown Christ and the call to being faithful to Him. Hebrews 6 and 10 segue perfectly in Hebrews 11, for in Hebrews 6:12 we are urged to imitate those who have walked by faith.

This morning I want to talk to you about faith-- what it is, the out workings of it, the goal of it, the object of it

-When it comes to the exploration of the subject of faith, Hebrews 11 is the Bible's pre-eminent passage
-the term "faith" occurs 27 times in Hebrews 11
-Hebrews 11 walks us through Old Testament history, reminding us of many men and women who walked with God by faith.
-The Book of Hebrews as a whole, plus the entirety of God's Word call us to put our faith in Christ as Saviour and Lord.

Read Hebrews 11 and note before reading that these examples of faith are presented in chronological order.

Hebrews 11 and the nature of faith

1. Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see v.1

Faith means taking God at His Word. Faith is about believing God. Faith is about trusting God. Faith is the confidence that our hope will be fulfilled

2. We walk by faith and not by sight. 1 Corinthians 5:17

In Romans 8:24 it says; "Hope that is seen is no hope at all"

While we can't see him, everything around Him testifies of Him-- the created order. Psalm 19:1-4 "The Heavens declare the glory of God"

3. Faith is something that pleases God. He commends people for their faith v.2, 39

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6.

3. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command v.3

Genesis 1-2 tells us how we and the universe came to be. The Sabbath command of Exodus 20 reminds us of such as does Psalm 33:6 which says; "By the word of the LORD were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth." Furthermore, Psalm 33:9 says; "For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm."

Here in Hebrews 11:2 it says; "By 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."

We ultimately accept this account of our origins by faith! Why? Because we weren't there to see it happen.

While we weren't there to see God create the world-- the world and universe is full of clues to indicate that we are his handiwork. Nothing else can explain the complexity or order that makes up us and surrounds us. Ponder this: The human body is comprised of 12 systems: Cardiovascular, digestive, endocrine, excretory, immune, lymphatic, muscular, nervous, reproductive, respiratory, skeletal, sensory. Evolutionists would like you to believe that they all development simultaneously and by accident to form the cohesive unit that is us. That is absolutely ludicrous. Only God can explain the wonder that we are.

Follow up point: Science and faith are not incompatible-as secularists proclaim. They are complementary. Believing that the universe came from nothing by the Word of God, is a matter of faith-- yet logic and all signs point to Him. Declaring it a matter of faith is also intellectual honesty versus the constant lies of evolution that speak of evolution as a fact.

4. Faith and action go hand in hand v.4,7,8-9

By faith Abel offered a better sacrifice. By faith Noah built the Ark. By faith Moses parents hid him for 3 months.

In James 2:17 we are told that faith without works is dead.

Our faith will and must be expressed in action-- action that is in accord with the teachings of God as found in the Scriptures

FURTHER: Faith is not mere intellectual assent. Merely agreeing that God exists is not faith. Faith in God changes the way we think and live our lives. Faith in God means surrendering to God and seeking to bring our lives into conformity with his will- as revealed in the Scriptures.

5. Faith in God expresses itself in radical obedience to God

This point an outflow of point 4. But further, faith results in godly choices and the renouncing of sin-- no matter what those in the culture say, no matter if "everyone else is doing ___"

Note Hebrews 11:25 "He (Moses) chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time." We have a choice to make. One for temporary pleasure- and that's all that it is, the other for the commendation and reward of God. We choose to obey

6. Without faith it is impossible to please God. Read v.6

7. Faith expressed means making temporary sacrifices--that the reward and commendation of God may be had v.32-38

Temporary hardship for the cause and person of Christ is the call of the Scriptures. Trying to live a holy life will result in persecution. Note the sacrifice mentioned of those in v.32-38

8. Salvation and peace with God is by faith.

In Hebrews 10:38 it says "But my righteous one will live by faith". This is the consistent teaching of the Scriptures going all the way back to the first saints. Righteousness and peace with God comes by faith and not by works. In Genesis 15:6 it says of Abram; "Abram believed the LORD, and he credited to him as righteousness."

The call of the Scriptures is to "believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved"

9. When it comes to our faith in God, he's more than able. He never fails. He cannot lie. His promises are sure. See Hebrews 6:13-20

It doesn't matter how strong your faith in something is, if the object is weak and unreliable. For example, it doesn't matter how much you believe a thin sheet of ice will hold you up-- it's going to break and you will be in the water.

Putting ones faith in Jesus-- who is declared to be God in the flesh-- is the sanest thing a sinful person can do. Jesus lived a perfect life. He died as a once for all sacrifice for our sins. He rose again. His miracles backed up his claims to be from Heaven and to being God in the flesh.

When it comes to putting our faith in God, God never fails. He never lies. He's always holy. He's always just. Putting your faith in God is putting your faith in the most reliable person and being that their is.

The call of Hebrews 11 is to faith in Christ, in God.

10. The object of our faith is Jesus. Hebrews 12:2

The call of Hebrews and the entire Bible is to put your faith in Him as Saviour and Lord. There's many good reasons to put your faith in Christ.

11. Our faith is forward looking v.10,16

We look forward to the return of Christ. We look forward to the New Heaven and New Earth. We look forward to being with Jesus. We look forward to the day when there will be no more sin, sadness, sorrow, cancer, or suffering.

In v.10 it says of Abraham "...he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God." and then in v.16 "...they were longing for a better country- a heavenly one."

12. For our faith to grow- we must draw near to God

In James 4 it says; "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you"

In Romans 10:17 it says; "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God". Hence, for your faith to grow, get into the Word God.

The closer our walk with Christ, the more we will be like Him.

13. Answered prayer, miracles, the indwelling Holy Spirit, the testimonies of other followers, God's Word, our testing and resting upon God's promises: These things build faith

After seeing his miracles, Jesus' disciples put their faith in Him.

14. Sometimes God tests our faith to reveal its genuineness and depth v.17

15. Faith removes the fear of Death

Speaking of Jesus, Hebrews 2:14-15 says; "Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death-that is, the devil- and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death"

About 20 times in Hebrews 11 death is mentioned. The saints died. They died in the faith. They died without having received what had yet been promised. They died without being afraid of death-- because of their faith in God.

As the followers of Jesus, we know that death is a defeated foe. Jesus' resurrection from the dead teaches us that death is not the end and that Jesus is who he claimed to be. As the followers of Christ we look forward to resurrection day-- when we will receive our bodies back-- new and glorified after the pattern of Christ.

16. The faith of others ought to inspire us to live boldly for Christ. Hebrews 6:12; 12:2

After this long list of people who walked by faith, what is it that Hebrews 12:1-2 says; "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

Our job collectively is to spur each other on in holy living and faithfulness to Christ.

17. Faithfulness to Christ counts more than anything else

This was the message last week, but it's just as relevant this week. He who stands firm to the end will be saved. Stay true. Stay faithful- and above all- do not renounce or disown Christ.

18. Confident faith in times of crisis is the outcome of a life that has consistently been lived by faith.

Note how Daniel and the other "ancients" and people like Paul, etc, handled trials and crisis.

19. The end goal of our faith is something that we will receive collectively as the children of God. v.39-40

20. It is vital that we carry on in our faith

This is the repeated call of the Book of Hebrews. Note for example Hebrews 10:23 "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful."

Stand firm!