Summary: God-pleasers are always men and women of faith. Faith is an individual choice, but also a legacy passed down by example, and it is most evident during hardship.
An Overview of Faith
The Progressive Story of Trusting God’s Word from Creation All the Way to You! (Hebrews 11:1-12:24)
1. A man was walking in the mountains just enjoying the scenery when he stepped too close to the edge of the mountain and started to fall. In desperation he reached out and grabbed a limb of a gnarly old tree hanging onto the side of the cliff.
Full of fear he assessed his situation. He was about 100 feet down a shear cliff and about 900 feet from the floor of the canyon below. If he should slip again he'd plummet to his death.
Full of fear, he cries out, "Help me!" But there was no answer. Again and again he cried out but to no avail. Finally he yelled, "Is anybody up there?"
A deep voice replied, "Yes, I'm up here."
"Who is it?"
"It's the Lord"
"Can you help me?"
"Yes, I can help."
Looking around the man became full of panic. "What?!?!"
"Let go. I will catch you."
"Uh... Is there anybody else up there?" [www.aish.com]
2. Let’s face it, it can be hard to trust God. And we usually do only when we have to.
Main Idea: God-pleasers are always men and women of faith. Faith is an individual choice, but also a legacy passed down by example, and it is most evident during hardship.
I. Faith DESCRIBED (11:1)
• How a description is different from a definition
• Faith can be “the faith,” or “personal trust.”
A. An ASSURANCE of what we believe awaits us
1. Not to be confused with optimism; optimists can leave you holding the bag.
2. Entrepreneurs are optimistic and you hear success stories. But, according to CNBC, “While the specific statistics are tough to nail down, it's widely reported that the majority of new businesses fail, many citing a 90 percent or more failure rate within five years.”
3. A confidence because we trust the character of the One Who promised
4. It is taking God at His Word…
B. A CONVICTION targeted toward invisible realities
1. How the Supreme Court distinguishes between conviction and preference
2. Sometimes Christians turn preferences into convictions, not good (legalism)
3. Our convictions are primarily about invisible realities
4. 2 Corinthians 5:7, “for we walk by faith, not by sight…”
C. The HERITAGE of God’s people
1. Truly saved people before Jesus and after Jesus have this one concept in common: faith (trust).
2. And faith is always provable, not just words; they did things that those who did not trust God considered risky or foolish or impossible.
D. Faith is BOTH a gift of God and something for which we are responsible.
2. The third verse of “I Know Whom I Have Believed,” reads: I know not how the Spirit moves, Convincing us of sin, Revealing Jesus through the Word, Creating faith in Him.
3. Yet Jesus held unbelievers responsible for their unbelief.
4. The problem is not that people cannot believe, it is that they won’t.
II. The NECESSITY of Faith to Embrace the Incomprehensible (2-3)
A. Faith is not a blind leap in the DARK.
B. Faith is based upon the testimony of God’s WORD.
• I might add, “carefully interpreted in context and in harmony with the rest of the Bible.”
• Sometimes people do great things, sense they are led of God to trust Him for this and that; but, just like entrepreneurs, we only hear the success stories.
• Mike C. at Moody — went to Japan w/out raising support…
• God may lead you to do something, but your assurance of that leading should not be on the same level as to what His Word says. When people disbelieve the Word, they are sinning; when they disbelieve your leading, they are disagreeing with you.
C. God and His ways are only partly COMPREHENDABLE, so we must trust His character and take Him at His Word.
1. God has given us enough revelation — including a self-authenticating Bible — that we are reasonable to trust Him, but not enough so that we understand what He is doing when it comes to the particulars.
2. Ecclesiastes 3:11, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.” (Sort of a Romans 8:28).
D. The idea that everything material came at God’s bidding from NOTHING is incomprehensible, but still the best explanation around.
III. Faith’s Timeline and Faith’s HARDSHIPS (11:4-12:17)
Sequence is very much in the mind of the author. He starts at the beginning and then takes the believer to the present.
This is the ultimate chapter of one Midrash after another!