Summary: This message seeks to establish a definition of what our faith should look like.
Most of us confidently believe that we have faith. The problem is that the faith we often display is quite different from what is defined here in Hebrews 11. We have been conditioned to believe that we must see in order to believe. We analyze and reanalyze in order to establish hard evidence to determine what is logical to believe. This often leads us to approach God much like we would approach an algebra problem, trying to solve Him using a slide rule and calculator. The natural result of this approach is being lead to the mistaken belief that God will only help us accomplish what we can logically conclude is possible. This has led human reason to produce such unbiblical sayings as, “There’s a fine line between faith and stupidity.” The faith we read about in the Bible is based on the fact that God is not bound by human logic and natural laws and that He can do more than we can even begin to imagine. This type of faith is extremely difficult because it goes against our natural tendencies. It causes us to move beyond what we are comfortable with. But this is exactly the type of faith that we are called to display in our lives and His church. Today, I would like to paint a picture of what true Biblical faith looks like.
I. There are four important things we must understand about faith.
A. Faith always involves assurance and conviction.
1. Faith is the assurance or being sure of what we hope for. The Greek word is hypostasis which means to give something substance or to make something a reality.
2. Warren Wiersbe writes, “This faith operates quite simply. God speaks and we hear His Word. We trust His Word and act on it no matter what the circumstances are or what the consequences may be. The circumstances may be impossible, and the consequences frightening and unknown; but we obey God’s Word just the same and believe Him to do what is right and what is best.”
3. Faith is the proof, conviction or certainty of what is not seen. The Greek word is elengchos which is a legal term and often means proof or test.
4. When you put these two pieces together we discover that faith is absolutely certain that what it believes is true and that what it expects will come to pass.
B. Faith always involves things that are still yet to come.
1. The word hope always points toward the future and focuses upon what is yet to come.
2. Faith causes our hope to rest on God’s ability instead of human ability and logic.
3. Without faith in God, hope can never be any more than wishful thinking.
C. Faith has as its object things that are presently unseen.
1. We really need to think for a moment. Heaven, the promised resurrection, eternal life, the work of the Holy Spirit and even Jesus Himself are beyond our ability to physically see.
2. Without fail, amazing things will begin to happen when we focus the eyes of our heart on the unseen realities of God.
3. When we begin seeing through faith rather than human senses, what God is doing in our lives and in the world around us begins to become visible.
4. Faith enables us to make God honoring decisions based on unseen realities.
D. Faith involves maintaining our focus on God.
1. When our commitment is not what it ought to be it is really easy to see our faith beginning to erode and trusting God’s ability becomes much more difficult.
2. Without faith it is impossible to believe that God exists. God’s existence cannot be verified, proved or substantiated. It can only be believed and faith makes that possible.
3. It is time to pause for a probing question, “By watching our lives could someone conclude that God exists?”
4. God has intended that our lives be the way that the world sees Jesus and for that to happen our lives must be focused on Him.
II. There are three reasons that faith is essential to pleasing God.
A. Faith enables us to believe that God does exist.
1. Faith enables us to see what others cannot see, do what others cannot do and to understand how God works.
2. Dr. J. Oswald Sanders puts it this way: “Faith enables the believing soul to treat the future as present and the invisible as seen.”
3. Belief in God’s existence is more than just a simple acknowledgement; it is the understanding not only that God is there but He is working in our lives and in control of circumstances.
4. Faith in God’s existences has three important elements.
a. Belief that God speaks through His Word.