Summary: Topical message on how walking by faith makes us better.
Turn in your Bibles to Hebrews 11:1.
In 1993, I had surgery on my shoulder because it was so torn up inside that I couldn’t do push-ups without dislocating it.
I remember going to the hospital and being laid out on the gurney and then someone put a mask over my face and told me to start counting backwards from 100.
That’s pretty believable, but if you didn’t believe that I had surgery, how could I prove to you in some tangible way that I did?
I could show you my scar and I could show you that my shoulder doesn’t dislocate anymore.
And I could probably come up with some witnesses and some written documentation about my surgery. But that’s best I could do.
For the most part, you’d have to take it on faith that I really had the surgery—which would be a pretty easy thing to do.
And my goal this morning is, through this message to make the idea of faith a little more tangible and practical…
…and to help us see that living by faith is hard, but at the same time, it is also not really as difficult as it seems.
The first point on your notes is that faith is a mysterious confidence. Faith is a mysterious confidence.
In Hebrews 11:1, we are given what, at first glance, appears to be a definition of this mysterious confidence.
The writer says, 1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see .
What is difficult to bring out in English without adding words that weren’t originally there…
…is that the writer is not saying this for the purpose of explanation.
In the Greek language in which this was originally written, he’s not explaining what faith is,
…he is affirming something he knows they already understand.
So if I were to try to capture the real mood and feel of these words in their vocabulary and culture, I might say,
“As you have always known, faith is being absolutely confident in the reality of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”
The Hebrews were people who both understood and lived by faith.
And we do too—we just don’t always realize it. We practice different types of faith everyday.
Over the last few years, I’ve flown almost 80,000 miles on Delta Airlines alone.
And not once did I ever ask for any tangible proofs or evidences that the plane was mechanically safe or that the pilot was qualified or sober.
I just got on the plane, sat in my seat, and waited until I could pull my computer out.
I eat fast-food every week. But I’ve never asked for proof that those who handled my food were either healthy or sanitary. I just order and eat.
I drive my car every day knowing full well that car accidents happen all the time—I just don’t think its going to happen to me.
I take a pill every day to control my peptic ulcer. So every month I go to the pharmacy and someone I don’t know sells me a bottle of pills.
I can’t prove that these are the pills the doctor prescribed and it doesn’t even occur to me to ask for proof. But I take one every day.
You see, even without considering my relationship with God, I live by faith everyday.
¨ I place my faith in airlines and their employees;
¨ I place my faith in fast-food restaurants and their employees;
¨ I place my faith in all the people driving on the road at the same time I am.
¨ I place my faith in my doctor and the pharmacist.
And the list goes on because faith is an everyday occurrence in our lives.
So even if faith in God is an unusual or non-existing occurrence your life, faith itself is not. Look at Hebrews 11:1 again.
1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
The word that is translated “faith” was used at the time to convey things like…
¨ “a dependable truth”
¨ or something than can be absolutely be relied upon .
The word that is translated “being sure” was a word that also meant “a firm confidence.” In this example, it is…
…a present-tense confidence in the future-tense reality of eternal life with God in heaven,
…based on the past-tense event of Jesus Christ’s life, death, and resurrection.
But we also have to remember that this is not a “Gee, I really hope what I believe turns out to be true” mentality.
This is saying that, “I am just as sure of this thing I that I cannot see as I am of anything I can see.”