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Summary: We are shown in this passage today that living for God is not impossible. We are not able to just give up and quit (considering all that others have done); rather, we must in today’s day without apology, be willing to live BY FAITH!

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By Faith

Hebrews 11:1 – 12:3

Intro

One of the most common requests preachers get: “How can I know God better?”

I firmly believe we know God better through the strengthening of our faith

RE: Faith is what we lean on in times of crisis, trauma, or trial

This is a very heavy chapter; but worth examining for us today (always)

Opinion: This chapter allows us to learn how the “giants” of the faith persevered

As we approach the Christmas season, let’s explore how we strengthen our faith

Lots to read here, bear with me … we will examine this quickly (preaching)

Read verses 1 – 40

Point 1 – What is faith?

Faith always has been the mark of God's servant’s (this is focus of v1-3)

It causes the truth to be received, and our justification celebrated based on Christ

We have confidence in what He has done and that alone strengthens us

The ancients (who we just read about) are commended for living this

In essence … it is the charge that you and I have today as well – to live BY faith

Faith proves to the mind, the reality of things that cannot be seen by the eye

It is the proof of all that God has revealed; it shows Him as holy, just, and good

For the ancients, faith was the foundation of their obedience

APP: It gave life to their loyal service and willingness to suffer (wait)

It is not our place to wrestle with whether (or not) God’s word is true

It is by faith that we believe, and that settles it for you and I (APP: IT MUST)

RE: We see the works of God; and all that He has done; and that settles it

Because of this, our faith becomes stronger (if we live it)

TRANS: Let’s examine some of these faithful persons …

Point 2 – Living by Faith

By faith, Abel offered the best offering to God

By faith, Enoch was taken to heaven without dying

By faith, Noah built an ark to save his family / humanity

By faith, Abraham followed God to a land he did not inherit

By faith, Sarah gave birth well past child-bearing years

By faith, Abraham offered his son Isaac as a sacrifice

By faith, Isaac blessed his lineage for their future

By faith, Jacob blessed each of Joseph’s sons

By faith, Joseph taught about the exile they would face

By faith, Moses was rescued and raised by Pharaoh’s daughter

By faith, Moses lived to honor God and was rewarded (Passover/Commandments)

By faith, Moses led the Israelites from captivity and lead them to promised land

And … truth be told … even more could be mentioned

So much so that the writer (see v32) says that he doesn’t have time to discuss them

Big question: WHY? Why would these things happen?

Answer: Look back and re-read verses 13-16

They didn’t receive the things they were promised

Yet, through faith they knew that God was still in control and they followed

They spent NO time looking backwards (v15) – but looked forward

If they did, they would be focused on missing what they used to have

IMP: They knew something better was ahead; a promised land given by Grace

Challenge: How many of us spend our lives looking back instead of forward?

These we’ve discussed lived looking forward, because they knew God

They knew what awaited them at the end – and they were faithful

They knew that if they trusted God, that more was coming which was better

The bible says they “were longing for a better country – a heavenly one”

They knew that something greater was ahead, a promise that God had given them

Jeremiah 32:38, “They will be my people, and I will be their God.”

But, the Bible tells us they did not receive what they were promised (v39)

TRANS: So, how can we take comfort in their lives and allow it to strengthen us?

Point 3 – We are not alone!

If all these men and women were willing to live knowing what they know

If they were devoted based on a promise – how shall we live as well?

Read Chapter 12:1-3

Surrounded by a cloud of witnesses (who are they – see Ch. 11)

They are the literal cheering section of the faith (among others)

They they are watching and rooting for us … they have already proven faithful

How can we not live rightly for the One who has done everything for us?

We must fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector …

The alpha and omega; the very beginning and the ending of our faith is in Him

KEY: & never remove our eyes from Him! It’s already done (follow the leader)

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