Summary: What is faith?

Tonight I want to talk about this thing called faith! I mean, what the heck is it? We hear it talked about all the time. Married couples are supposed to remain faithful. Church tells us to be men and women of faith. Even the Boston Red Sox motto for the year is, “Keep the Faith.” But do we really understand what faith is?!

God has really challenged me with this thing called faith this summer. I always thought I understood exactly what it meant to have faith in God. I mean, I grew up in the church and heard about faith all the time. I have heard people pronounce that they have “found the faith and believed in God.” I had read about faith in the Bible and had conversations with friends or family. As far as I knew, everyone who was a Christian had faith because they believed in God and the church was full of people of faith and always would be.

The text that I want to look at tonight is Hebrews 11, verses 1 and 6. These two verses really challenged my definition of what faith is and I hope by the end of the night your prior ideas to what faith is will be challenged as well.

HEB 11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. HEB 11:6 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.

I think a lot of time our culture defines faith by using the word trust. How many of you guys have ever participated in or seen a trust fall? You climb up onto a stage, in front of a group of your friends. They stand below you and get into position as you prepare to fall into their arms. The whole point of the activity is to build trust in your group. But is that the same thing as faith?

I would argue no. Trust is a part of having faith but it goes much deeper. Hebrews 11:1 says that faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. The first halve of this verse define trust. We are sure of what we hope for. When we are doing trust falls we hope that we are going to be caught and not dropped on our head. The second halve of this verse is where faith becomes much deeper than trust.

DJ, can I have you come up here for me…Blind Faith Fall

That is where trust and faith are different. Faith is often illogical. You don’t know what is going to happen or what exactly is going to catch you but you have faith that you will be caught. DJ trusted [or not] in my voice telling him to fall backwards but he wasn’t certain if there was anyone there to catch him. That is how our relationship with God can be very often. We have God’s Word telling us stuff, our pastor’s tell us stuff, our Sunday School teacher’s tell us stuff but yet we can’t really see God. We have to believe and be certain of what we do not see.

This is essentially the spot where I found myself with faith at the beginning of the summer. Faith is a belief in God, knowing that He is there even though I can’t really see him. Faith is listening to and looking for the signs that give us hope that God is real and looking out for us. As we look at verse 6 though, faith is so much more than just belief in what we can not see.

Focusing in on the second half of verse 6 it says, “anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists (there is where our definition of faith is at the moment) and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” This verse says that there is more to faith than just belief. At first it is easy to misread this part of the verse. I’m sure many people will read this verse and go, “Cool, I have to believe and get rewards, then I have faith. I can do that!” But, that’s not what this passage says though. If we read this last part backwards it helps communicate a little clearer what the passage is saying. “Anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that those who earnestly seek him, he rewards.” The writer is saying, in order to have faith we must believe and ACT UPON IT! We need to be searching God out and we need to be investing in a relationship with him.

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