Summary: Faith is all about moving in a forward direction and trusting God to lead us.
Griffith Baptist Church – 11/16/08
Text: Hebrews 11:11-16
Key verse: Hebrews 11:13 - These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
Premise: Faith is all about moving in a forward direction and trusting God to lead us.
Some time ago, there was a comic strip in Peanuts that showed Lucy in her psychiatrist booth. She is trying to analyze Charlie Brown. She says, "Charlie Brown, life is like a deck chair." "Like what?" "Charlie, have you ever been on a ship when the passengers try to open up one of those chairs so they can sit in the sun? Some of them place their chairs facing the rear so they can see where they have been. Some of them face their chairs forward so they can see where they are going." "On the cruise ship of life, Charlie Brown, which way is your deck chair facing?"
When God talks to us of faith, He always speaks in terms of:
o Movement forward
Sarah and Abraham had something promised to them that looked impossible. God told them they would have a child. (Gen. 18:1-22)
o Sarah was around 90 and Abraham around 100 when this event was to take place. What would you think?
o He was called out of the familiar to the unfamiliar, solely based on a promise
Our faith needs to be a faith that moves forward, and from Scripture we can see four principles that help us understand what this is:
1. Forward Faith Trusts God With the Impossible – 11:11-12
A. A woman relates this story: In dire need of a beauty makeover, I went to my salon with a fashion magazine photo of a gorgeous, young, lustrous-haired model. I showed the stylist the trendy new cut I wanted and settled into the chair as he began humming a catchy tune and got to work on my thin, graying hair. I was delighted by his cheerful attitude until I recognized the melody. It was the theme from "Mission: Impossible." SOURCE: www.cybersalt.org/cleanlaugh
B. Verse 11 – the odds and nature were not stacked in Sara’s or Abraham’s favor, but their God was.
i. When she was past age—She was at this time more than ninety years old
ii. Gen. 17:17; compare Gen. 18:11.
C. God sees beyond our eyes or understanding (Is. 55:9; Rom. 11:33) – Psalms 139:1-6 – 1O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. 2Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. 3Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. 4For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. 5Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. 6Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.
D. Two thoughts to consider:
i. What is big to us is small to God
ii. Whatever God sends you to do He enables you to do
2. Forward Faith Does Not Hesitate
A. Joseph Choate, one-time U.S. ambassador to Great Britain, when asked who he would like to be if he could come back to earth again after he died, replied without an instant’s hesitation: “Mrs. Choate’s second husband.” Maurice Sendak, Author and illustrator of Where the Wild Things
B. Romans 4:19-22 - 19And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb: 20He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; 21And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. 22And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.
i. Abraham was strong in faith
ii. Abraham praised God and moved when God said so.
C. We are given the command not to waver - Hebrews 10:23 - Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
i. The greek word for waver (klino) means to fall back.
ii. In other passages it is translated wear away (Lk. 9:12), bowed down (no hope, Lk. 21:5), and turned to flight (Heb. 11:34).
D. We need to practice making our faith:
i. Full – not half-hearted
ii. Instantaneous – no faltering or vacillating
3. Forward Faith is Bold
A. Hebrews 10:38-39 - 38Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. 39But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.