Summary: This sermon is intended to help believers understand that genuine faith is evident in practical principles in daily living.
In the sports world, many athletes are recognized by their accomplishments in their perspective sports profession and at some point they are inducted into the “Hall of Fame”. I love the game of basketball and list of hall of famers are tremendous. The list includes stars like:
- Kareen Abdul-Jabbar (1995)
- Nathaniel “Tiny” Archibald (1991)
- John R. Wooden (1960)
- Jerry A. West (1979)
- Clyde Drexler 2004
- Walter Frazier 1987
- Moses Malone 2001
- William F. Russell 1974
- Cheryl Miller 1995
- Oscar P. Robertson 1979
And the list goes on and on and on. In the entertainment world, there is the walk of fame on the streets of Hollywood Blvd. Each square has a name of a person in music, theatre, or movies. Some months ago we saw Smokey Robinson inducted into the “Walk of Fame”. This year the following names were added to the streets of Hollywood: Halle Berry, Britney Spears, Kevin Costner, Anthony Hopkins, Brooke Shields, Glenn Close, Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen, Cindy Williams, Patty Duke, John Singleton, Ted Turner, Hans Zimmer, Steve Edwards, Journey, Nancy Sinatra, Jose Jose, Mickey Rooney and Jan Rooney. Posthumous stars will be awarded to Elizabeth Montgomery, Ethel Waters and Dr. Seuss.
And in A.D. 70 we find a list of “Hall of Famers”. These individuals are unique not because of their professional lifestyles in sports, music, entertainment, theatre, or movies. These individuals we read and study about in Hebrews chapter 11 are not all people with distinguished backgrounds yet they are listed for us in Hebrews 11 a chapter known as the “Heroes of Faith” or “Faith Hall of Famers”.
You ask what is it that makes them so unique? What did they do that would name them “Hall of Famers” or “Heroes of Faith”? Here’s my answer as simple as it maybe: They kept the faith.
Understand, faith is a common denominator. Every one alive daily expressed faith in something. No one can live a single day without exercising faith.
Faith in the physical world. When you awoke and went into the bathroom this morning you flipped a light switch and you had faith that it would work. When you get in your car you have faith that it will start. When you mail a letter you have faith the postal system will get it to the right address. When you go to the pharmacy you have faith that the pharmacist will give you the right drugs. Every time you walk into this building or any building you are expressing faith in the architect and the workmen.
Faith in the spiritual realm. Each of us regardless of our backgrounds or educations, our social status or our talents can express faith. The difference between the faith we exercise in our daily routine and our religious faith is the object of that faith. Again everyone places their faith in something or someone. The Moslem puts his faith in the Koran and in Mohammed. The humanist put his faith in himself. The follower of religion, in his own good works. None of these can save, because in each case the object of faith is wrong. Your faith is only as good as the object in which you place your faith. The Bible insists that we personally put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Acts 4:12 says, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” It’s our faith in Jesus Christ that brings true salvation and it is that same faith that pleases God.
Well, then the question is what does it take to have a faith that pleases God? Before we discuss what it takes let’s talk about what it does not take. Because there are some misconceptions regarding faith that we need to clear up.
• First, faith is the ability to manipulate God. This is the approach of the “health and wealth” prosperity gospel. This approach only sees faith as having one aim – one fruit – a life of ease and blessing.
• Second, faith is adherence to a set of beliefs . You must believe the right doctrine. But Paul says in 2 Tim. 1:12, “ I know whom I have believed.” If your beliefs are not founded on the right person it does not matter what else you believe.
• Third, faith is a blind leap into the dark. To many unbelievers faith is the anti-thesis of science. To these saying “you just have to have faith” is the same as saying “just have to act contrary to everything you know and trust that it will all work out for the best.”
• Finally, that faith is simply devotion to whatever god one happens to follow. It can be said, “He is a person of deep faith” about a follower of Mohammed or the Ayatollah or of a Christian. What matters is that they are sincere.