Summary: Learn how to build a life of faith by looking at the 3 secrets of faithfulness from the life of Abraham.
Building a Life of Faith (Hebrews 11:8-18)
We’re in week three of a series on built for life - on how to build a great life. All of us want to build great lives, and the Bible tells us how we can do that. Today we’re going to talk about building a life of faith.
How do you get God’s approval? By being religious and going to church? No. By keeping the Ten Commandments? No. By being more good than bad? No. By promising to be perfect? No. The Bible says that there is only one way to get God’s approval. There’s only one way to get God’s smile on your life. In the book of Hebrews, chapter 11, it says, "It is impossible to please God without faith" (Hebrews 11:6).
The only way you can get God’s approval is through faith. You may be a great person, but without faith, it’s impossible to please God. You may do all sorts of great things in your life, but without faith it’s impossible to please God. God isn’t interested in rules and rituals. He’s only interested in one thing: that you develop a relationship of faith with him. If you want to build a great life, it’s essential that you know how to build a life of faith. Somebody has called faith the greatest power in the world.
What is faith? A lot of people have the wrong idea about what faith is. I’ve heard people say that faith is an irrational commitment to beliefs despite evidence to the contrary. I’ve heard others say that faith is like a blind leap into darkness. That’s not faith; that’s stupidity. Faith is actually the opposite. You could describe faith as a leap out of darkness back into the light. Faith is not irrational. It’s based upon coherent and consistent reasoning. Faith isn’t simplistic, but it is simple. Faith provides future hope for your soul.
What is faith? Probably the best definition of faith is found in Hebrews 11. It’s a book of the Bible that contains a list of people in the Bible who lived lives of faith. You could call it God’s Hall of Faith. And Hebrews 11:1 gives us a definition of faith that I want to use today. Hebrews 11:1 says, "What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see." Here’s a definition of faith. Faith is the confident assurance that God is in control of the future and that he will keep his promises to me because he has a purpose for me. Faith is building your life on the fact that God is in control, and that God will fulfill his promises even when you don’t see those promises materializing.
Faith isn’t making a good guess based on the best human estimate of what will happen. Faith isn’t taking a leap of faith. Faith is believing the promises of God, even when there is nothing to show for it. We’re going to look today at how we can develop lives of faith.
There is one man in the Bible who stands out as a paragon of faith. His name is Abraham. Now, the great thing about Abraham is that he has been viewed throughout the centuries as a model of faith - not just by Christians but by two other religions. Muslims, Jews, and Christians all look to Abraham as a model of faith. In fact, Genesis 15:6 tells us, "And Abram believed the LORD, and the LORD declared him righteous because of his faith." Now, I like to look at Abraham's life because Abraham was as human as you and I are. Under pressure he told lies. Twice he gave away his wife to save his own life. But James 2:23 tells us that Abraham was called a friend of God. Despite all of his failures and all of his faults, Abraham was called a friend of God. Why? Because of his faith. You don’t have to be perfect to build a great life. But you do have to build a life of faith.
In Hebrews 11, no one person gets more attention than Abraham. In fact, Hebrews 11 mentions three episodes in Abraham's life that point to him as a man of faith. I want to look at these three episodes in Abraham's life and draw out three secrets on building a life of faith. And here's the first secret right here:
1. FAITH IS OBEYING EVEN WHEN I DON’T UNDERSTAND IT
That’s the first secret of developing a life of faith. You’ve got to obey even before you understand it. Now, there are two types of people in this room. The first type is the spontaneous type. It never occurs to you to plan for the future, because the future isn’t here yet. You’re not worried about five minutes from now because you’re simply in the moment. What I’m going to say really doesn’t apply to you.