Summary: What faith isn’t, what faith is and what faith does. (with an emphasis on real faith is demonstrated when we don’t see what we hope for or don’t understand the way)
Faith. Hebrews 11:1-16. WBC Sun 22nd August 2004 am
You have faith. You do!
- when you got up this morning and put on the light: you exercised faith
- when you got in your car you exercised faith in that car to deliver you here
- when you buy some pills from the chemist, you exercise faith that they will work
- when you board a train- you have faith that it will get you to your destination
- when you post a letter: that it will arrive at the right destination (that takes faith!)
There is nothing unique about faith. It is a universal currency
As is spiritual faith. We all have it. Seriously
- as they say: everyone is someone’s fool. Who’s fool are you?
- The humanist has faith in himself
- The New Ager in the general benevolence of the universe and the power of inane objects such as crystals
- The Muslim in the Koran and Mohammed as a prophet
- The religious person in their own works to save them
Everyone exercises faith. There’s nothing unique about it
- you have bucket loads of it!
But what you realise is that some things are more worth putting your faith in than others
-so it’s not your faith that counts- but the object of your faith
Illustr: 3 people were on an aeroplane in awful weather. One terrified, hysterical and sobbing. One biting their nails and clutching the seat handle. One calmly asleep. All 3 made it because the object of their faith (plane and pilot) were trustworthy.
Jesus is the author and perfector of our faith. The object of our faith
- utterly dependable
- able to save to the utmost those who come to Him. In fact- as subjects of religious faith go, He is the only trustworthy one as
AC 4:12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."
So- let’s get a few things clear about faith this morning
WHAT FAITH ISN’T
Faith isn’t about FAITH. Believing. Faith is not the object and goal (as if by it I can please God and make things happen, get myself a good life)
- that’s an extreme that we all feel uneasy with
- Faith is about the object of my faith
Faith isn’t about adherence to a set down rulebook or set of doctrines
- can be said of some: “oh, they are a person of faith” (because they bash a certain drum or doctrine all the time, and seem so sure)
- in fact they are desperately unsure, insecure and bigoted
o religion has become their crutch
- > rather a than JESUS.
- It’s not the matter of right doctrine (though that matters)
o Paul says “I know WHOM I have believed” 2 Tim 1:12
Faith isn’t about a blind leap into the dark
- “just have faith” (in other words: unscrew your brain)
- doesn’t mean switching off common sense
- doesn’t mean can’t be a scientist. Faith is not the anti-thesis of science!
- Cf here: by faith we believe that God created the world
o It’s not telling us how it happened
o I am a creationist. I believe God created the world. Out of nothing.
It’s science’s job to try and find out how
o Strangely enough they currently think there might have been a time when there was nothing. And then, pow, matter came into being!
Hey boys, give me a Professorship! By faith I’ve believed that for ages!
I look forward to hearing more theories as to how my God might have done it. My what mechanisms
All faith is not the same
- people think, nowadays, that ‘It really doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you are sincere. You’ve got your faith I’ve got mine”
o that’s just not true. I know some lovely, sincere people, but what they believe is absolute tosh. I just don’t know how they can do it
o Illustr: Margo. 16 credit cards and debt. Why did you expand the house? “The house spoke to me and told me it wanted to be”
o Friends- us Christians have got NOTHING to worry or be ashamed about!
WHAT FAITH IS
Faith is in an object
- our faith is in the nature of a loving God, and that object is Jesus Christ
o completely trustworthy
It is “the assurance of things hoped for and the certainty of things not yet seen”
- that word ‘assurance’ (NIV ‘being sure of’) literally is ‘hypostasis’
o you know that: hypo= under stasis= stand
- faith is the what stands under the things we believe as Christians and gives them support. It is their foundation