Summary: This passage tells us how great people acquired faith to do great things for God.
The Manifestation of Faith
Rev. Sean D. Lester
A. I want to be a man of faith. Jesus said that if I had the faith of a mustard seed I could command a mountain to move. I could drive away the demons that torment people. I could walk on water or calm a storm.
B. I want to have faith but what is faith? How do I get it, or grow it, or write it? Is faith a commodity of the Spirit, that someone can give me, or that I could give away?
C. The very first verse of our passage tells us what faith is.
1. Faith is a “conviction” of truth. It is a hypothesis that compels me to prove it is true. It is not the good feeling you get when you learn something new, or as from a teacher or a book. IT is something you know because you figured it out from your own experimentation. You have a hunch and you prove it.
2. “Sure of what you hope for.” Hope is the assurance that some good thing could possibly happen. Hope drives me to pursue the good things. If something is possible, and I want it, I will pursue it.
3. “Evidence of what you don’t see.” Columbus, it has been said, changed the world because he had a strong hunch about a truth that the world is round. The riches of wealth if it was true gave him hope to pursue it. He could not see beyond the horizon, but he sailed for it anyway. He saw the sky meet the ocean, and was certain that something good lay beyond it.
D. All of the great people in ancient days were people of faith. Indeed, all great people are people of faith.
Proposition: All people have within them the ability to grow in faith to do and become great in God’s sight.
Interrogative: How do I know that?
Transition: This passage tells us how great people acquired faith to do great things for God.
I. Faith begins in the mind.
A. Before faith is made alive is a person, they must come to the conclusion that there is a God. How do you draw that conclusion?
1. You look at the sky, and you see order.
2. You look at nature, and you see order.
3. You know that all things stay still, unless it is put into motion. But, all things start from a standing position, so something had to act upon something to create the universe.
4. Order cannot come from disorder. Order is the evidence of a mind.
5. Therefore, there must be a creator, and the creator must be powerful.
B. The truth of God is inescapable. As Scripture says, only the fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
C. And since there is a God, and since He created beings that think, reason, and make choices, then does it not follow that He has a purpose for people? He made us very small, and very frail, doesn’t it follow that He would care for us?
Transition: It does make sense that there is a God and that He cares for us. That sense of knowing compels us who know of God to seek Him out.
II. Faith compels people to seek God.
A. Abel offered a sacrifice in order to draw near to God. There were no rules for worship, but he reasoned that if he took the best part of the fine things he had, and offered them to God, perhaps God would notice and be pleased. God did notice and was pleased.
B. Because Able was well-spoken of by God, we know that God is pleased when we worship Him, when we come to Him because we know He exists and want to know Him, and earn His favor.
C. Abel teaches us the heart of worship, to know and to please God. Cain teaches us the worship that God rejects, to appease and receive from God.
D. Enoch walked with God, communing with God. That worship, prayer and searching God’s word in order to know God, pleases our Father. There is favor for all who seek to know Him and become intimate with Him.
Transition: To know God, the act of worship, will result in a transformation that manifests in a lifestyle of faithfulness to God.
III. Faith compels us to seek eternal life.
A. Abraham worked for a family and country better than what he had. He looked because he heard God’s word.
B. Moses led the Israelites into a better country that he didn’t get to enter. He did it because he heard God’s word.
C. The heroes of our faith suffered pain and death, giving up this life in order to inherit a better one, because they heard God’s word.