Summary: A look at those who have gone before who understood the words of faith, undertook a walk of faith, acomplished works of faith and withstood trials of faith.
Memorial Day was established in 1868 to honor the fallen soldiers of the Civil War. It has grown to become a solemn recognition of all of our nation’s war dead and the high price of our freedom.
Joke – A church had a bulletin board decorated with pictures of soldiers who had been killed in service to their country. The board was trimmed in red, white and blue and had little flags on it. A little boy was looking up at the board when the pastor came up. He asked the little boy how he liked the board. The boy asked what it was about. The pastor explained that the pictures were the men from their church who had died in the service. The little boy said, “The morning service or the evening service?”
In the bulletin today we have listed the members of our church who have died this past year. Today we honor them as well as those who have given their lives for our country.
Turn to Hebrews chapter 11. This chapter is known as the “Hall of Faith” and it honors those who set a great example of faith for us to follow.
The first person in the Bible to die was Abel. Verse 4 says that though he is dead he still speaks. I think that is true of any person of faith. Their death is not the end of them. They still speak through their influence.
Five attributes of their faith I want us to see this morning:
I. They Understood the Words of Faith.
A. A Definition of Faith (11:1)
St. Augustine said, “Faith is to believe what we do not see, and the reward of this faith is to see what we believe.”
Clement of Alexandria said, “Faith is voluntary anticipation.”
When our son Jesse was 1 year old and had just started walking we went outside to walk on the driveway. He did fine but he wanted to explore off the driveway. When he came up to the edge where the grass started, he would reach up his hand for me to take it and then he stepped off into the grass. Jesse was walking onto new uncharted territory and he had full confidence when he held his dad’s hand. I find a lesson there. We should explore new territory for God but don’t forget to “put your hand in the hand of the man who stilled the water.” We can move forward with confident faith holding to His hand.
B. A Declaration of Faith (11:6)
They knew that God rewarded faith. They knew that God is only pleased when we demonstrate faith in action.
C. The Destination of Faith (11:13-16)
Here is the end result of faith. When we understand this we can attempt great things for God.
A friend of mine was witnessing in an inner-city housing project. One man who was on drugs pulled a knife and said he was going to kill him. My friend, in a flash of inspiration, responded, “You can’t threaten me with heaven.” The drug addict moved on and my friend continued witnessing. This is true, is it not? Heaven is the reward, our final destination. It should embolden us.
II. They Undertook a Walk of Faith.
Steven Curtis Chapman has a song called, “The Great Adventure”. The first line goes, “Saddle up your horses, we’ve got a trail to blaze; through the wild blue yonder of God’s amazing grace.”