Summary: Even before the Flood, God’s people related to Him on the basis of faith. The writer extracts some important Christian beliefs from their examples.

Faith Lessons from the Big Guns

A Midrash Extravaganza

(Hebrews 11:4-7)

1. This is a wonderful time to live when it comes to new technologies and inventions. Elon Musk, who oversees Tesla, SpaceX, and The Boring Company is sort of a cross between Thomas Edison and Cornelius Vanderbilt.

2. But much if not most progress comes from little guys and in small steps.

3. “Aug. 8 (UPI) -- A Chinese inventor shared video of his homemade flying machine, which he dubbed the world's first "flying scooter."

“Zhao Deli recorded a test flight in Dongguan City, Guangdong Province, to show off the capabilities of his "flying scooter," which seats one person and resembles a giant quadcopter drone.

“The inventor said his aircraft can currently carry a load of up to 220 pounds at a maximum speed of about 45 mph.

“Zhao said he is hoping to take his flying scooter, which can currently sustain flight for about 36 minutes at a time, for a demonstration flight over the Yellow River.”

4. These inventors and tycoons often have great faith in themselves. But even the best of us are mortal. Faith is best directed toward God, for only He is capable of doing whatever He purposes to do. And only His character is impeccable.

5. And that is what this section of Hebrews is about: faith in God and champions.

6. Apollos or whoever the author of Hebrews is, is using a device highlighted by Aristotle and other orators, that of preaching to the choir and reinforcing beliefs already present by the use of examples. As Ben Witherington III puts it, “the audience is persuaded to continue to embrace core values already affirmed.”

Main Idea: Even before the Flood, God’s people related to Him on the basis of faith. The writer extracts some important Christian beliefs from their examples.

I. Abel Enjoys ETERNAL LIFE Through Faith (4)

(confer with Genesis 4:1-11)

This is one midrash after another; midrashim; this means that the writer of Hebrews is going to reach back to the Old Testament texts or examples, and bring out truths that are immediately apparent.

Some will include: salvation by faith, the Person and work of Christ, the judgment that is coming upon those who reject Jesus, the New Jerusalem, the Christian’s lot of being persecuted, our need to separate form the world, resurrection, etc.

A. WORSHIP that pleases God and is accepted.

1. Biblical faith is trust coupled w/ commitment based upon a high view of God.

2. Cain, on the other hand, valued his own opinion above God’s, rationalist.

3. Cain was out to impress God with who he was, Abel was impressed with God.

4. Both probably received previous instruction, but Cain would have had to humble himself to trade crops for one of his brother’s sheep.

5. Cain gave God what Cain valued, Abel what God valued (blood).

B. He was ALIVE and speaking after he died.

Revelation 6:9-11, When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.

1. Abel’s faith cost him his life; in a sense, the first martyr.

2. Millions have followed in his train.

3. But the text implies that Cain was still alive; his blood cried out.

4. Hebrews adds that idea that it wasn’t just his blood that spoke out, but the text says, “though he died, he still speaks.” Midrash, finding the resurrection.

II. Enoch Was RAPTURED Through Faith (5-6)

(confer with Genesis 5:21-24)

A. Whether remaining mortal or not, he was TRANSLATED to heaven.

1. A distinctly Christian teaching is that living believers at Jesus’ return will be transformed without seeing death.

2. Enoch was not the only man who had faith in God, but He had a special relationship with God that was unique, at least in his day.

3. But, ultimately, God had a purpose in all this, and Apollos (or?) suggests that it was to demonstrate the benefits of faith in God.

B. FAITH is the one thing all God-pleasers have in common.

1. All these great men and women were great people of faith.

2. No exceptions allowed: without faith, it is impossible to please Him.

3. The works of those who know Christ please Him, if done in faith; those same works, done by others without faith, do not please God in the same way.

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