Summary: To encourage the local church to be like the patriarchs in exhibiting a faith that God would not be ashamed of.
FAITH THAT SHAMES NOT GOD
My brothers and sisters as we the Church of Christ is on the brink of a much needed break through, we first need as I had referenced to during Watch Night Service a major faith lift. I am inclined to believe that many in the church, have talked about, wrote about and exhibited so much faith, that many in the church physical, appear to be tapped out, while still there remains a remnant in the church spiritual that is still holding on to the promises of God. It is no longer a question of believing in God, but for many in the church, it has become a question of believing God. This is why both pastor and congregation here at Salem, are having a spiritual faith lift coming from the master surgeon Himself, that we will not at anytime embarrass our God with a lack of faith.
The last time we visited this 11th chapter of Hebrews we were studying verse eleven through twelve, there we talked about Sarah and her faith. It was a faith that conquered the impossible. There we learned how Sarah, a woman passed her bearing year embraced the promise of the Lord and produced the son that the Lord said she would have. One of the key points was that she had to shift her faith from what she could do to what God promised to do. From her faith lift she conceived with Abraham who as verse twelve indicated that he was as good as dead. Together they birthed a nation for God that would be as many as the stars of the sky, and as many as the sand on the seashore. I tell you when we place our faith in the One who is able to divide the Red Sea, the One who made the sun stand still, the One who cooled of the fire for the Hebrew boys, the One who fed five thousand with two fish and five barley loaves, the One who was able to save us from us, then we can place ourselves in line for the best that God has to offer.
This text speaks about those who died in the faith. Although they believed God and His word, they did not receive the promises but they saw them from a distance, and many of them died believing. We will witness how this new generation of Israelites who knew not their father’s homeland, settled for the promises that God had given to their forefathers, and they had faith enough to believe that if they did not make it to the promised land, they would for certain are headed to a better city.
So, come as we will see how they shamed not God with their faith and I have today just one major point, with four short sub-points to support it.
First of all . . .
1. THEIR FAITH WAS SO STRONG, THAT THEY DIED BELIEVING WITHOUT RECEIVING (v.13)
“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them,”
Had you ever heard the story of the little boy that went to town with his father, and his father told him to wait on a particular corner for him until he returned. The story lets us know, if I remember correctly that as the day passed it rained, but he stood right there and other situations occurred, but the young child didn’t move. It had started to get dark and he was still waiting on his father, and when the father came back to where he was, he found the boy wet, cold and hungry. And he asks him why didn’t he go home? And the boy responded “because you told me to wait here and I knew that you would come back for me.”
That is what happened to the patriarchs. They knew that if they waited on God and counted on His promises, He would deliver as promised. Now although they did not receive the promise of the land, yet they saw them from a distance in their hearts. The point to see is this: these all died believing what God had promised and not a single one of them ever received the promise on earth. If they were to receive them, they had to accept them by faith. Believing in them and hoping in them was the only way they could possess them. That is what the text said that they were persuaded of them, and embraced them. Although death came their way it did not stop their faith because their faith was seen by others and it was infectious, so infectious that many around them believed them too.
I need you to note four sub-points and I’ll be done and maybe these sub-points will allow us to gather outside of faith’s proverbial traditional box.