Summary: Are your beliefs real Faith?

Faith- The Foundation for Life

A young woman was speaking with one of my sons last week about prayer. “Who are you talking to?” she asked in all sincerity. She did not grasp the personal Presence of God. They talked on of his daily reading of the Scripture, an exercise that caused her great curiosity. Their continuing conversation showed that she had no faith, not that she is hostile to spiritual matters. In fact, to my knowledge she believes in God, but she has no faith. Prayer, the Bible as the Word of God, even God Himself are not known to her except as ideas, untested and untasted in her life.

How about you? What do you believe? Is your belief real FAITH? What and/or whom do you KNOW?

∙ Some of us believe only in ourselves... our faith is in self.

∙ Some of us believe only in that which can be tested and proven with our five senses.

∙ Some of us are convinced that only science should shape our lives and our thinking.

(That is hard for me to understand given that those are scientists admit to their slippery grasp on most of the ‘facts’ of the universe.)

∙ And some of us, believe that there are realities for which we have no evidence that can be tested, measured, or understood by our physical senses alone and we trust in One who present and personal YET great and immeasurable. That is faith in God.

Such faith makes a person very different from the majority of people. A 150 years ago here in New England lived a fierce individualist who wrote, "If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away" (Walden: Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1971), p. 326 His name was Henry David Thoreau.

And that is what faith is about... living life marching to the beat of a different drummer. A person full of faith is deeply transformed, caused to live in such a way that those who are mere inhabitants of this present world will regard him with curiosity as one out of touch with the world. But, he is in fact, in touch with a reality the faithless ones cannot perceive.

I invite you to turn in the Bible to a passage that is about faith and those whose lives have been lived in synch with the rhythms of eternity. For the next several Sunday messages, I’ll be taking you to this famous chapter to explore life as it is lived in the context of a vital faith. We will see --

∙ that faith is precious and costly;

∙ that faith is forward focused,

∙ that faith is full of hope,

∙ that faith is fixed in the person of God, and

∙ that faith does not always find its reward in this temporal realm.

Our text: Hebrews 11 Pew Bible page 894

For this message, we will consider vv. 1-7. {READ}

What is this faith of which we read?

∙ Faith is NOT thinking positively. One may think positively as a result of faith. But that is not faith.

∙ Faith is NOT rosy optimism. Again a person full of faith will certainly have reason to be optimistic, but

optimism is not faith.

∙ Faith is NOT having a impression about something and seizing on it.

∙ Faith is NOT just hoping for the best despite all odds. That is resignation to fate!

The Bible gives us a definition of faith in vv. 1,2, and 6. (Re-read)

Faith begins with a restless sense that life should be different. God causes us to ‘hope for’ better things. As long as a person is self-satisfied, content with the status quo, he will not bestir himself to adventure

into faith. I am convinced that the greater enemy of faith is good times. When the check book is full, our families are happy, the nation is at peace, our health sound, and the economy booming... faith languishes. There is no quest for things hoped for because there is the illusion that we already possess everything.

If you are content simply with a full belly and a warm bed, then this message will bore you today and you will be glad for it to end. IF, however, your life is troubled or you want something more than to be fat and happy, you are listening. God is whispering to us all the time that life can be different, that we can know lasting peace, that there is meaning. When we listen to His voice, we begin to hope and the seed of faith is planted. That is what the Scripture speaks to when we read, Romans 10:17

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