Summary: Excellent faith has as its example these who gave everything for their faith in God and their willingness to go the distance.
Griffith Baptist Church – 2/15/09
Text: Hebrews 11:32-40
Key verse: Hebrews 11:38a - Of whom the world was not worthy: . . .
Premise: Excellent faith has as its example these who gave everything for their faith in God and their willingness to go the distance.
The name Stradivarius is synonymous with fine violins. This is true because Antonius Stradivarius insisted that no instrument constructed in his shop be sold until it was as near perfection as human care and skill could make it.
Stradivarius observed, “God needs violins to send His music into the world, and if any violins are defective God’s music will be spoiled.” His work philosophy was summed up in one sentence: “Other men will make other violins, but no man shall make a better one.” Our Daily Bread, January 25, 1993
God is in constant search, I believe, of those He can add to this list of faithful people, not to Scripture, but in His heart.
Most people think the Christian life and faith is about success, but that is not at the top of God’s priority list:
He is looking for people of excellence
What is that? (Read ill. below)
Difference between success and excellence - Brian Harbour picks up on this theme in “Rising above the Crowd”:
“Success means being the best. Excellence means being your best.
Success, to many, means being better than everyone else. Excellence means being better tomorrow than you were yesterday.
Success means exceeding the achievements of other people. Excellence means matching your practice with your potential.” Leading the Way by Paul Borthwick, Navpress, 1989, Page 64.
Some people think that the Christian life and faith is about perfection.
Perfection in the Bible is speaking about maturing, growing up.
It does not mean being flawless and ideal but that we are working toward becoming like Jesus Christ
Read Ill. below
Edwin Bliss once said, “The pursuit of excellence is gratifying and healthy. The pursuit of perfection is frustrating, neurotic, and a terrible waste of time.” Eating Problems for Breakfast by Tim Hansel, Word Publishing, 1988, Page 39
Four conditions of ultimate faith
1. Ultimate Faith has Courage
A. Courage is doing what you’re afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you’re scared. Eddie Rickenbacker, Bits & Pieces, April 29, 1993, p. 12
i. Courage is not the absence of fear but facing your fear
ii. Anxiety will come and we must give it to the Lord
iii. This was evidenced (text) by:
a. Gideon (32) – 300 men against an enormous army
b. Samson (32) – strength not possible with God
c. See verse 33-37
B. Fear of anything, but God, will defeat you:
i. Fear causes us to hold back
ii. Fear keeps us from opportunities that God sends our away
iii. Fear convinces us that we are not capable or that the result will not be success
iv. Fear convinces us that all our efforts will be wasted
v. God did not create us that way - 2 Timothy 1:7 - For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
vi. Courage is not some magical, mysterious emotion that happens to us, it is a choice
C. We should have courageous faith because three great truths:
i. God’s companionship - Joshua 1:9 - Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
ii. Our strength come from God - Psalms 27:14 – Wait (look for, hope, expect) on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.
iii. It is commanded, therefore we are capable - 1 Corinthians 16:13 – Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.
2. Ultimate Faith has Commitment
A. What is the difference between involvement and commitment? Perhaps it can best be explained this way by the analogy of bacon and eggs. With the egg the hen is involved but with the bacon the pig is committed.
i. To commit is to stay true to a course of action, to see it through; dedication.
ii. We should want to be involved to the conclusion.
iii. Those in this text saw the bigger picture and trusted God, no matter what
a. 33 – Daniel – stopped the mouths of lions
b. 34 – three Hebrew men – quenched the violence of fire
B. What are deterrents to commitment?
i. We are fearful of what it might cost us (time, emotions, money, etc.)
ii. We may not like the repercussions (opposition, naysayers, negative thinkers)
iii. We don’t like the speed bumps along the way.