Summary: The chorus of witnesses that went ahead of us calls us, by their example to live lives of faith, with one eye set on our eternal home and one eye set right here and now on the mission field we call our lives.
August 7, 2016 - Hebrews 11 - Faith Acts - August 7, 2016
All of us believe and all of us also don’t believe. A big part of what defines our lives is what we believe and what we don’t believe. No one here believes everything.
If you did, you’d be mightily confused because of course there are opposite things, opposite viewpoints. If we embrace opposites...like we love chicken AND we hate chicken, we live in constant tension.
We have to decide. And there are a lot more things to decide on than chicken.
All of us believe and all of us don’t believe. We believe in certain things that cause us to disbelieve others. Growing up I believed there was no God. I believed what you see is what you get.
Believing there was no God left me unable to believe there is a God. This should be obvious.
What we believe really represents our faith. We all have faith in something. At all times in history, people have believed in something. In today’s passage we hear about the chorus of witnesses that has gone before us in the faith.
People who believed in God and who lived their lives according to that belief, consistently.
Our passage talks about people who lived what they believed. And because of that, they are celebrated in this passage.
None of these people was perfect. Far from it. But they trusted God, and with that trust, with that faith in God, their lives, and the lives of many others were made better, were transformed.
Now the first verse we’re looking at today defines faith for us.
11 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
We see that faith is confidence and assurance. Confidence in what or WHO we place our hope in and assurance in what or WHO we don’t see.
Now this doesn’t make sense to some people.
The first part’s ok...having confidence in what we hope for. We can all understand taking a positive view toward something that hasn’t happened yet.
We can hope that we will live a happy life, and that tomorrow will be brighter. Those are worthy things to hope for.
But what’s this ‘assurance about what we do not see’? How can you be sure about something unless you can touch it and know by touching that it is real?
Well, you all came into this building today not being able to see the oxygen that you are breathing right now. But you were reasonably sure that you would be able to breathe at church this afternoon, right?
You can’t see oxygen, but you can know it’s there, frankly, because you’re breathing. That’s the evidence.
I love my wife, and I’m sure that she loves me. Can you touch love? Can you touch trust? The truth is, the less materialistic the subject that we’re talking about, the less physical it is and thus the less touchable.
The less physical something is, the greater and higher reasoning is required to comprehend it. God is not physical to us now, since Jesus returned to heaven, but God is the highest idea, the highest truth, the most perfect reality that exists.
And so to believe in God requires not hands to touch something, not ears necessarily to hear something, although faith comes by hearing, so there’s that.
Believing in God doesn’t require our physical senses, but it does require a higher sense. What is that ‘sense’?
3 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.
We’re told that it is by faith that we understand. Faith is the sixth sense. By faith we understand God’s creative super-imagination and His limitless power.
The UNIVERSE was formed at His COMMAND.
Imagine for a second what that means. I can’t even turn a light on by a command. Lights...be turned on! See.
By His command God formed, fashioned, created EVERYTHING out of NOTHING. Including you. And so, the passage goes on, we understand, through faith, that everything that is seen was not made out of what was visible.
Rather, out of no-thing, nothing, God formed the universe. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”.
And God said about every aspect of creation, LET IT BE SO. And so it was. And He was pleased with His creation.
We can come to grasp that at least in part with our minds, but it is through faith that this becomes a meaningful and beautiful description of the God Who we love and serve. By faith we understand.
And it is by faith that we please God. “Without faith it is impossible to please God”. It says that in a few verses. And now here we have some examples of faith that pleases God.