We are visual people. We talk about our understanding of the world as we perceive it. We even use the phrase “how we see the world.” Yet, just about everything works around our "sight". How we "see" , "view", or "perceive".
As Christians, we may be blessed with five physical senses, and our sight is at the forefront of those senses, yet we’re called to understand the world not with our eyes, but with our hearts. Seeing past the eye means faith.
Confidence, trust, conviction, belief, and assurance, all mean the same thing....... Faith.
Confidence, expectation, anticipation, courage, optimism, and faith, all mean the same thing...... Hope.
There're only a few things that are more misunderstood than faith. Yet, few things are more important. AMEN
• Have you ever wondered about faith?
• Have you ever doubted you had faith?
• Have you ever wished you had more faith?
• Have you ever "thought" you had faith?
The Lord never leaves us, He never forsakes us and He’ll never fail us.
Hebrews 11:1 states: Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
My message today is: Faith, the evidence of things not seen…
We all must have faith in our lives. We must be active in faith because faith works for us only, as we work our faith.
Faith requires doing, being, speaking, living, and loving God and others.
We as a people sometimes fail to realize just how discouragement, fear, and frustration are related to a faulty sense of hope. We fail to realize how that faulty sense of hope drives away our faith.
A person who hopes in God cannot be overwhelmed by the hurts from people, because they are not looking to people for their source of satisfaction. AMEN
When you read Hebrews 11:1 you may hear the following:
• “Faith is the evidence of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
• “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
• “Faith is the foundation of things hoped for, it is the rebuke of things not seen.”
• “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen" –
Regardless of how we translate it, regardless of how we interpret the structure of the words, the book of Hebrews is trying to make some very basic points about how we “see”.
Sometimes, we can get so caught up in looking for evidence for faith, that we forget that faith doesn’t require evidence – faith is the evidence, it is the very essence of our hope.
What I’d like do today is briefly talk about how we see the world, because how we see the world leads to how we will live in the world.
Consider these things:
• No one can live a single day ..... without exercising faith.
• When you went to the bathroom this morning ..... you flipped a light switch..... and you had faith ...... that it would work.
• When you got in your car...... you turned the key .....and had faith ..... that it would start.
• When the toils of life hold you down, you have faith that you will get back up.
The measure of our faith is NOT our "talk" ..... it is our "walk".
Faith is what we do. It is not what ......we say we will do.
Hebrews 11:1 tells us that if you see only with your eyes, you’ll miss out on hope.
One of the mistakes we make in life is thinking that just because we can’t see something doesn’t mean it’s not there. God may not choose to reveal himself through our eyes, but I do know that he calls us to grow up spiritually and learn to trust that he is still up there, and still in charge, even if we can’t see him with our eyes.
Hebrews 11:2 says: for by it the elders obtained a good report.
• The elders are our ancestors, our forefathers
• Their Good report was by witness, or an honorable testimony that was borne to them because of their faith.
Our elders had unwavering confidence in God, even in difficult circumstances
Hebrews 11:3 states: Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
If you see with your ear, you might begin to hear the story behind what you see.
Sometimes our eyes cloud what a person is really saying. Sometimes our visual expectation of what should be, is lacking the true design, the true purpose.
We’re distracted by visual things, and therefore perceive that all hurt and pain is punishment.
But, God builds our faith by testing it. He builds our faith by putting it to the test, by trying it. Faith is like a muscle, and when it’s worked and stretched and pulled, it develops. When you test your muscles against weights then your muscles develop. And your faith develops as it is tested.
1 Peter 1:7 states: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
But when we’re tested, we cry why, “Why Me Lord”. We question Gods will, we lack faith.
I wouldn’t imagine many in the bible days who would have questioned that God made the world. But there may have been some.
However, today, the ever increasingly “smart man” questions the true foundation. Man questions God’s word.
Some believe that because you cannot see God, he isn’t there. Instead, we’re called to believe in a world governed only by rules and laws that are uncompromising.
But, If there is no God:
• There would be no mercy.
• The stars wouldn’t be so perfect.
• Asteroids would probably destroy this world.
• And there would be no such thing as the miracle of birth.
It is through faith that we understand this world in all its beauty is God’s work.
It is through faith that we understand this world can only be the works of the almighty GOD.
We all have heard the words uttered by someone at sometime or another: “ Only I can change things”. But we know that it is only God who can truly rid the world of hatred and destruction.
. one person,
. one soul, at a time.
This requires faith and trust in Jesus Christ and Him alone for the salvation that can change the human heart and ultimately the human condition.
Without faith there is no hope. And without hope, what is there?
Hebrews 11 also reminds us of heroes of faith, God’s magnificent; Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sara, Joseph & Moses to name a few. They didn’t have an easy time, and we’re not promised an easy time EITHER.
“In this world you will have trouble”! When we stand strong in the face of trouble, we’re in essence having faith. Faith that we can……Yes, we can…
Hebrews 11:6 states: But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
• So many people fail to have faith in what God has in store for them.
• So many people follow a crowd that follows man’s lie of “quick” perfection.
• So many people fall for the “Devil’s Deal”.
But for me, following Jesus means taking up a cross, it means a harder life in some ways than not following him. It means having faith in God’s plan. Yeah, it may be hard, it may hurt, and you may not understand, but as the song goes, “farther along, you will understand why”.. AMEN AMEN
The people in Hebrews 11 may have had wavering moments, but they got over them to become incredible Christians with faith in Him who saves. We may need to “get over it” too. Can I get an AMEN……
Now, let’s talk about Hope.
Hope means having courage when things are hopeless.
When everything seems hopeless, and we manage to have that inner belief, hope begins to be our strength. That’s when our faith kicks in.
Life is a process of growth, and we must realize that sometimes being a Christian is harder than not being one. The temptation is to give up, or at the very least to stand still, unable to move forward.
Does anyone here understand what I’m saying?
• Faith can become difficult when we face persecution.
• Faith can seem hopeless when we’re faced with hard choices.
• Faith can be a challenge when we face personal suffering.
• Faith is strained when family lets you down.
• Faith is tough when you find out your friends aren’t your friends.
But we get up, we breathe in, and breathe out with a faith that things will change. We pray that our faith will be strong enough to get us through another day. We believe life isn’t hopeless.
If you’ve been there before, say AMEN…
Romans 8:24-25 states: "For in this hope we were saved…But if we have hope for what is still unseen by us, we wait for it with patience and composure."
When our hope is totally in the Lord we’re not disturbed when things don’t go our way. When we have a hope that is sure and unwavering, that is grounded in a living relationship with God, we have a hope that transforms our Life
All too often, hope is placed in the wrong thing:
• People have hope in themselves;
• People have hope in their partners;
• People have hope in their jobs,
• People have hope in their friends;
• People have hope in their finances;
• But guess what brothers and sisters, all of these can fail.
I’m here to tell you, your hope is rooted in the God and Father of Jesus Christ, and He can never fail.
• His Word is true.
• His promises are sure.
• and His salvation is eternal.
The truth is, we all have periods of “darkness” in our lives. We all face the pain and sorrow of losing a loved one. Or we agonize in watching a loved one suffer. We may even struggle in the face of overwhelming illness or disease.
Parents worry about their children; sons and daughters worry about their parents. Families break and marriages end, leaving nothing but stress and depression behind.
How can there be hope when these things compound and branch out in our lives. How can there be hope in the face of such agony? No doubt Paul thought of what David wrote when he was tried and troubled.
Listen to what Psalms 42:11 states: "Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God."
Brothers and Sisters, tell someone today, tell someone each day:
• God is our Rock and he supplies us with everything we need.
• We may have trials, but we must have hope.
• We may stumble, but belief in God can straighten our path
• We may get knocked down, but we must have hope.
• And we may have troubles, but have faith that God will guide us.
When we’re faced with adversity we must not give into discouragement. Hope is built upon a confident faith that the Spirit will help us look towards better things to come. It visualizes all the good things that can be attained in our life through Christ. Hope in God helps us center our expectations on all the characteristics of God, instead of our circumstances or feelings. Ask the Lord to help you increase the quality and quantity of your hope as you praise God for His wonderful qualities.
In Psalm 1:3 David wrote, " And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. AMEN
People who hope in God are certain that regardless of what happens God will supply them with adequate supplies of emotional, mental and spiritual blessings.
• It may not happen today.
• It may not happen tomorrow.
• but when blessings flow,
• they flow with an essence of love.
So, learn to place less of your trust in people, as they can let you down.
Place more of your trust in God, as He will lift you up.
Right now, too many people give into discouragement and become impatient because what we believe we need doesn’t happen overnight.
Brothers and Sisters, we should take time every morning to trust in God’s bidding. He knows what we’re here to do. He knows our purpose.
So, when you feel darkness closing in on you, lift up your head and look to the power of God.
As James Cleveland sang:
• God is my protection.
• God is my guide and direction.
• God is my joy in time of sorrow.
• God is my today
• God is my tomorrow.
• God is the joy and the strength of my life.
• God removes all pain, misery and strife.
• God is my all in all.
God gives hope when everything appears hopeless.
• When we’re tired, he gives us strength.
• When we’re sick, he can make us whole.
• And when we’re weak and want to give up hope, he can pick us up.
No one is able to face the trials of life without hope. Hope is like breathing. The moment we stop breathing, that’s the moment we die.
• Sometimes we may have to wait until our hope is realized.
• Sometimes we may be depressed, worried and just down right miserable.
• And other times we’re overwhelmed with life
• Sometimes we get tired and feel we can’t go on
• Sometimes we are lonely and believe no one cares.
• But Hope equips us for these trials, and faith will get us through.
Paul teaches us that the only way to remain hopeful is to develop a thirsty heart for Christ’s rivers of life.
Matthew 5:6 states: Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Nothing else satisfies like Jesus. Turn your eyes and heart toward Him. Allow the Lord to turn your night to day, your gloom to gladness and your sorrow to singing.
When my wife and I got married, we were very young, and very poor. She was in college full time, we had a young child to care for, and I literally had to sleep outside a local union to be first in line for a hard unskilled laborer’s job.
We heated our food on a radiator heater in our 1 bedroom apartment. The clothes she made were beautiful, and I swear, she could make a meal out of anything, and it was great! Or maybe I was just hungry…
Most people didn’t have faith that we would make it, let alone grow in strength and love.
What they didn’t factor in, was we had God on our side. His plan was already set in place.
Times were hard, sometimes downright painful, but we made it by the grace of God. We had a faith that others didn’t. We had a hope that helped us over the Rough side of the mountain. We had God on our side.
James 1:2-4 states “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
Gods says, when you’ve got a problem relax. In fact he says, rejoice. Take it easy. Thank God. Praise God. Why? Because I know that God is with me. God has a plan for me. He has a plan for you. God has a purpose for my life and he has a purpose for yours. He’s going to help me through life, and guess what? He’s going to help you through life also. God’s purpose is greater than the pain or the problem or the difficulties we’re going through right now.
Brothers and sisters, we all know it’s not easy out there, to run that marathon we call life. But when we feel like giving up we must push on.
Whenever a situation feels too difficult, and sin seems like an easy way out, remember God is our light, our
way, our salvation.
When life takes us down in sin and despair, we should get back up, dust ourselves off and know that God loves us, and never leaves us.
God’s time may not be our time. God’s ways are not always our ways. But, if we meet the trials of life with the unwavering devotion of faith in Christ, life becomes enormously more glorious than it ever was before.
The struggle is the way to glory, and the very struggle itself is a glory.
So, in those deepest, darkest hours of our lives, we can have faith because we already know of the reality of God’s love through Jesus Christ.
When that darkness stretches on for weeks, or months, or even years, we must cling to that faith and strive after it. And in our striving after faith, we will find hope in a God that cares.
• God is at work in this world.
• God is at work in our lives.
• God is our hope.
• God is love
• God is peace
• God is our guide
• God is our strength.
• God is our victory.
• God Is …our everything
• God is so Good….
Martin Luther King, Jr once said: “Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.”.
Fiends and Family