Summary: Hebrews 11 tells What Faith IS and what Faith DOES. Biblical faith will Worship (Abel), Walk (Enoch), Work (Noah), and Wait (Abraham)
SCRIPTURE READING: Hebrews 11:1-6
Everyone has faith. A Houston Pastor named John Bisagno put it this way: "Faith is the heart of life. You go to a doctor whose name you can’t pronounce. He gives you a prescription you cannot read. You take it to a pharmacist you have never seen. He gives you medication you do not understand --- and yet, you take it." Now, that is living by Faith!
The fact is, we can’t get through a single day without living by Faith. When you flip a light switch you put faith in the electrical wiring. When you turn the ignition switch in your car, you trust the motor. When you mail a letter you have faith in the US Mail Service. Sometimes --- of course ---- your faith might be misplaced. Because faith is only as valuable as the OBJECT of that faith.
The same is true with Spiritual Faith. Buddhists have faith in Buddha. Muslims trust in Allah. Hindus believe in various Gods (thousands actually.) Most religious people put faith in their ability to keep the rules … to be “good enough” to satisfy their god --- or reach their Nirvana --- or build up good Karma.
Even when people claim no religion at all, they still live by faith. Every human puts faith in something. It may be in some notion of human potential. It may be in the supremacy of science or reason or political power. Or they may have faith in some vague concept like “oneness with nature.” But everyone lives by faith.
Hebrews 11 is called “The Faith Chapter.” It would be easy to build an entire sermon series on this one chapter alone. But don’t worry --- today we’ll just skim the surface. We’ll start by looking at WHAT BIBLICAL FAITH IS.
1. What Biblical Faith Is:
Hebrews 11 puts a BIG concept in a few words: 1Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
A.W. Tozer had an interesting explanation for this verse. He said:
“Faith is seeing the invisible, but not the nonexistent.” Some people think faith is believing in something that is not actually there. Biblical faith believes God when He tells us there is a reality, which we cannot see. Faith means that we keep our eyes on God who controls circumstances --- not on the circumstances themselves.
II Corinthians 5:7 puts it this way: We live by faith, not by sight. That sounds simple enough. But for some reason, people get all kinds of misconceptions about what Faith is. Let’s take a few minutes to look at what Biblical Faith is NOT:
· For one thing: Faith is NOT a blind leap in the dark. Some people think you have to ignore logic and reason in order to believe in God. The fact is, believing there is NO God requires an unreasonable kind of faith.
If atheists, agnostics, or secular humanists put their faith into words, it might sound like this: By faith, we believe that the universe evolved from mindless matter, so that order accidentally emerged from chaos.
Of course, they are hard-pressed to find any evidence for this statement of faith. Science consistently shows that order does not grow from chaos and that design points to a designer.
I don’t know about you, but I find Hebrews 11:3 much more plausible: 3By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
Both creeds require faith. But Christian faith is compatible with logic and reason. It is based on historical evidence. It is supported by the Biblical record, by personal testimony, and by our own experiences.
Listen to what D.L Moody said about faith: “I prayed for faith and thought that some day it would come down and strike me like lightning. But faith didn’t seem to come. One day I read in Romans that “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” I had, up to this time, closed my Bible and prayed for faith. Now I opened my Bible and began to study ---and faith has been growing ever since.”
Another misconception is faith that we can make God do anything we want.
· But Biblical faith is NOT the ability to manipulate God. Some Christians think Faith is a kind of magic medicine potient. You can name it and claim it … blab it and grab it …
That kind of faith won’t outlast the first major disappointment. When a loved one is not healed or a promotion doesn’t come through or unforeseen tragedy strikes, false faith will crumble. Biblical faith does not believe that God will do what WE say. Biblical Faith knows that God will do what HE says. By faith, we rest on the promises of God --- no matter what happens.