Summary: The writer to the Hebrews explains faith in a very unique manner by first going back to the first book of the Bible and then moving forward from there. Along the way, he gives good support to the fact that the, "Just shall live by faith."
EARNEST ENDEAVORS ENCOURAGE
I. FAITH EXPLAINED: Hebrews 11:1-6
II. FAITH EXEMPLIFIED: Hebrews 11:7-14
III. FAITH’S EXPECTATIONS: Hebrews 11:15-16
The Faith Chapter, Hebrews 11 is one of the Christians’ all time favorite chapters of the Bible. There is something about this chapter that captivates the saints. When one reads of the Old Testament martyrs and examples of living for God and seeing what many of them had to endure for their faith, inspires even the coldest Christians to look at one’s own faith in the light of what went on before us.
When one reads this chapter, it reminds one that the faith once contended is still the same faith that is circulating through the veins of we Christians today. Most of us have been blessed to live in a land where Christianity is still accepted and allowed. However, there are many, far too many places on this globe, where Christians have to pay a heavy price for their faith in Jesus. As we read of what went on before us, we breathe a quick prayer for the followers of Christ who suffer for His sake and we pray for ourselves that God would spare us these afflictions which are written in this chapter and for what is occurring in the world today against His church.
Mixed in with this Faith Chapter are the heroes of the faith and also a good, nay, a perfect definition of what it is to believe in Jesus, that entity we call faith. The definition of that faith is clearly given and then there are examples to prove the writer’s point of emphasis: its dwelling in the human heart and some examples of what it meant to people who have long departed from this Earth. The writer to the Hebrews wanted his readers to be aware of just what this faith thing is and how much better it is serving God completely even if we never have any rewards for possessing this faith. It is good to have faith in this world now, but the writer wanted his readers to be made aware that this faith-though serving us now-is only part and parcel of our living for Jesus. The real pay off of faith is not in this world, but in a Better Country for we saints of God. To this end, I see three things regarding this Faith of some of the giants of the Old Testament and what this faith meant to them and what it means to us.
The first thing I note has to do with this faith being made plain for we followers of Christ: FAITH EXPLAINED. The next part of my sermon deals with some of the giants of the Bible: FAITH EXEMPLIFIED. Then I note that there are some anticipations to this faith that the early saints had and these are the same hopes for we who follow Jesus today: FAITH’S EXPECTATIONS.
I. FAITH EXPLAINED. There is no better definition of what faith is than what is given in the first verse of this chapter. It is succinct, to the point and right on target with its description of the very essence of faith. Yet, in studying the first few verses of this chapter, we get an even better grasp on this subject as we look at how the writer tried to convey its importance to the readers of his day and even to ours.
The first part of the explanation of the faith of which the writer wants us to see lies in the fact that it is more than just subjective belief for our salvation. This idea of \believing in some things that we cannot see has to do with our belief in the Atoning work of Jesus. A closer look at the second verse brings this idea of faith into a more encompassing aspect of our walk with God. Notice how the writer Elucidated this aspect of faith by reminding his readers that faith in God means there has to be a beginning and that beginning lies in the fact that God ordered all things from the first to the present time. To have faith in God means that we are to accept the fact of His Creatorship, the Originator and Planner of this world from its beginning to its ultimate completion. We were not there at Creation but by faith we have to believe that He is the One who created all and then He set in motion a plan to redeem lost man after the Fall. The explanation, the clarity, the very simple elucidation of this plan of God for this world is just as important as the Faith we are to have in believing that He will save us.