Summary: True faith goes beyond believe in God existence to believing that God can do what He said He would do. If we really have faith we will be willing to take risks and depend on Him.
We’re going to be starting our series on “Discovering the Heart of God” today. For the next few weeks both in the sermons and then also in several community groups we’re going to be talking about things that come from the heart of God. It’s not just that God loves us, but what impact does His love have on the world and in our lives. We’re going to look at things that show the love of God for us. We’re also going to be looking at what our lives will look like if we are allowing the love of God to flow through us. As I think about the Christian life I’m reminded of a story.
Two longstanding church members were in a boat fishing with a new Christian. Fishing is a great time for conversation and each was proclaiming his fervent faith and devotion to God. As they were discussing their faith, one’s hat blew into the water. So he stood up, calmly stepped onto the water, walked over to his hat, picked it up off the water, and walked backed to the boat. The new Christian was amazed how this Christian could seemingly walk on water. As the new Christian was pondering this, the other church member’s hat blew into the water. He also very calmly stepped onto the water, walked over to his hat, picked it up off the water, and walked backed to the boat. The new Christian was overwhelmed at how spiritual these men must be to have walked on the water as they did. Then the new Christian thought to himself, "Well, if these guys can do it, so can I", and he "helped" his hat blow into the water. He very calmly stepped out of the boat and was inhaling water instantly. As he fought his way to the surface, gasping for breath, the two long-standing church members turned to each other and said, "I think we should have told him about the sand bar on this side of the boat.
As we begin our series today we’re going to be talking about faith. Because to really know God and to really experience His heart you have to not only have faith but be willing to live by your faith. Today we’re going to be walking through Hebrews chapter 11 but we’re going to start by reading the first 10 verses. Hebrews 11:1-10, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. By faith he still speaks, even though he is dead. By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who come to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God
What Faith Is:
We’re looking today that the characteristic of faith. If we’re going to live a life of faith then we have to know what faith is. We’re going to start by looking at a common definition of faith. I looked it up in a couple of dictionaries and a consistent definition would be this. Faith can be defined as a strong belief in God. I like that definition, I think it’s pretty good. The problem is that most people think that the word “belief” is a surface definition. The belief in the existence of God, a recent study found that 82% of people in America believe in God and want some sort of spiritual influence in their lives. That’s a lot of people who say they believe in God, but do they really? Because if you really believe in God, if you have faith in God it’s going to impact how you live.