Summary: Faith is an absolutely vital ingredient for church growth
SERIES: “THE GROWTH FACTORS”
TEXT: HEBREWS 11:1-12
TITLE: “THE FAITH FACTOR”
INTRODUCTION: A. A long time ago, I heard a preacher tell a story about two fools and a flashlight.
It seems that two fellows who were not-too-bright were traveling home after a trip
to another town. It started getting dark and one fellow asked, “What are we going to
do? If it gets too dark, we won’t be able to find the footbridge that crosses the river
and we won’t be able to get home.” The other fellow replies, “Don’t worry. We’ll
figure out something when we get there.”
They finally make it to the river and not only is it dark, it’s also overcast. There’s
no moon visible. They can’t see very far in front of them.
One of the fellows remember that he has a rope in his traveling bag but they can’t
figure out how to use the rope to get across. The other fellow then remembers that he
packed a flashlight.
The first fellow gets real excited. He’s got an idea. He says, “I’ll tie the rope to
the flashlight. Then I’m going to shine it across the river. You walk across on the
beam of light carrying the rope. When you get to the other side, you pull the flashlight
across and I’ll walk across.”
The second fellow is shaking his head, “No.” He says, “Uh, uh! No way! I know
what’s gonna happen – I’ll get halfway across and you’ll turn off the flashlight.”
--For you IU fans, I know you’re thinking, “I heard that as a Kentucky joke.” I’m
here to tell you that I heard it as an Indiana joke, so let’s not go there.
B. To the world, faith is foolishness
1. It’s really no different than those two fellows in the flashlight story
--It’d be nice if it worked but good luck in the real life
2. The world sees faith as wishful thinking
C. The Bible teaches something different
1. Hab. 2:4b – “…the righteous will live by his faith.”
2. Prov. 3:5-6 – “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own
understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths
3. 2 Cor. 5:7 – “We live by faith, not by sight.”
D. Jesus spoke about two kinds of faith
1. Little faith
a. Mt. 8, there’s a huge storm on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus is asleep and the
disciples are scared to death. They scream and yell like little girls until Jesus
wakes up and stops the storm.
b. Mt. 8:26 – “‘You of little faith, why are you so afraid?’ Then he got up and
rebuked the winds and the waves and it was completely calm.”
2. Great faith
a. Earlier, in Mt. 8, there’s a Roman centurion who asks Jesus to come and heal his
deathly ill servant. The centurion acknowledges that he knows where Jesus’
authority comes from and that if Jesus wishes, that his servant will be healed.
b. Mt. 8:10 – “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great
E. Heb. 11:1-2 – “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do
not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By 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. By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith
he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by
faith he still speaks, even though he is dead. By faith Enoch was taken from this life,
so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him
away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And
without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must
believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. By faith
Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his
family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that
comes by faith. By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive
as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.
By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he
lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.
For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is