Summary: Looking at the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11, we can learn from the pattern of those who have gone before how to live a life of faith.
A Pattern for Faithful Living
Prop: Use a 2 liter bottle filled with water and oil. Shake it up. Some things in this life can never be mixed. Darkness and light, death and life; pride and humility, and faith and doubt cannot be mixed. You either have one or the other.
Today I want to build upon last week’s sermon. Last week we were reminded from the writer of Hebrews that the just shall live by faith. We read that faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Those two words: sure of and certain of are very strong words. They speak of trust. When I put my life into the hands of an airplane pilot and physically walk onto a metal bird weighing thousands of pounds and expect it to be able to fly at 30,000 feet above the ground with nothing but air supporting it, moving at a speed of several hundred miles an hour – I am hoping to arrive at my destination safe and secure. I demonstrate faith.
Now it is possible for that plane to fail me. It may crash due to weather, human error or an act of terrorism. But I take my chances anyway. With God there is no gamble. He never changes and He never falls back on His Word. What He says, He does. The only problem is that God is unseen. I can see the airplane. I can witness other planes taking off and landing safely. But I must gather the empirical evidence of creation, my past experiences and the inner voice of God’s Holy Spirit, and trust that God exists and that He rewards all who seek Him. That is faith.
Abel had it when he worshipped God. Enoch had it when He walked with God. Noah had it when He worked for God. And Abraham is perhaps the Father of all who have lived a life of faith.
Today I want to study Abraham. And from him I want us to learn a pattern for faithful living. This is the kind of life that pleases God.
Read Hebrews 11:8-19
1. Faithful living begins with God’s Word.
I want you to notice the wording of verse 8. “By faith, Abraham when called . . . obeyed and went.”
- The impetus for faith was the Word of the Lord. Abraham heard from God. Faith is tied to God’s Word. The book of Romans teaches us that “Faith comes from hearing, and what we hear is the Word of the Lord.” Jesus, the Living Word of God, is the author and finisher of our faith. Abraham heard God speak.
We don’t know how this occurred. This was before there were bibles and books. We do know that Abraham grew up in a pagan world and home. Joshua 24:2-3 says that “Terah, the father of Abraham living beyond the River Euphrates and worshipped other gods.”
Somehow the family got the idea that they needed to leave their home country and set out for a new country – for the country of Canaan. No mention is made as to the motivation for this move, but the scriptures do indicate in Genesis 11:31-32 that Terah with his son Abraham and Abraham’s wife Sarai made it as far as Haran and settled there. They started out in Ur which would be southern Iraq and made it to Haran, which would be Northern Iraq and then quit moving. They settled down.
But God spoke to Abram that he was to continue on without his father and his family. Hebrews 11:8 says that Abram was “called’ by God to keep moving.
He had no details of how far to move. He was not told exactly where to go. He had no specifics as to how long the journey would be. There was no mapquest or Quality Inns.
All we are told is that God ‘called’ Abraham.
This is an important point. Please do not miss this. Faith is tied to the Word of the Lord. We cannot and we should not just go around believing whatever we want to believe. You will hear in today’s culture that if you believe hard enough, you will have it. Just believe we are told. If your dream is be the next American Idol, go for it. It is all about the power of positive thinking. And there are a lot of truly horrible singers out there who ‘believe’ they are called to be the next big thing in American Music.
Faith is not positive thinking. It is a sure hope and a solid conviction built upon what GOD HAS SAID. What has God said to you? What does He have for you to do? Where does He want you to go? What is your calling?