Summary: Many great books are never written for one reason or another. Many great people are never recognized for their greatness. Such are those who are people of faith. Their lives would fill volumes but these chapters will never be written. THE WORLD IS A F
January 15, 1994 -- AM
UNWRITTEN CHAPTERS OF FAITH
INTRO: Many great books are never written for one reason or another. Many great people are never recognized for their greatness. Such are those who are people of faith. Their lives would fill volumes but these chapters will never be written.
PROP: THE WORLD IS A FURNACE IN WHICH GOD FORGES THE SECRET FEATS OF FAITH.
Hebrews 11:32-40 gives us four metaphors of Faith.
I. AS A TOPIC : There is more to say about faith than can be said in any individual setting (Hebrews 11:32).
A. The author of Hebrews had no more room to make his point. Because he had said so much, he had made his case enough. There wasn¡¦t even time to further establish the point. Faith can see us through anything. Just quickly he mentions other examples which could each fill a book of commentary:
Gideon -- raised from smallness, equipped with a small army to do a major job
Barak -- shown up by a woman in the defeat of an enemy, but still used of God to deliver his people.
Samson -- Shown that great strength has its limits when apart from faith, but restored to vanquish the enemy in the end when he repented.
Jephthtah -- an outcast who delivered the people in dependence on the Lord.
David -- a name even the newest Christian has some knowledge of. His faith took him through so much.
Samuel -- An undersold hero of faith who took his people into the kingdom era.
The Prophets -- Also greater than life in retrospect, but very human while living. Where would they have been without their faith?
B. The people he spoke about were not flawless individuals(v32). The apostle does not commend all which they did. He does not deny that they were very imperfect men, nor that they did things which cannot be approved or vindicated. He commends only one thing -- their faith . . . . (p.284) Barnes -- 227.87/Ba
II. AS A TOOL: Faith is a marvelous instrument which meets the challenges of triumph and tragedy (Hebrews 11:33-37).
A. There are those who experience victory as part of the reward of their faith (33-35a). Note that weakness is only a starting point in faith. There are many people who begin in faith and go on to be strong. Take for example, Mark. Grow in faith.
B. There are those who endure great adversity in a response of faith (35b-37). Few conceivable things can be as tragic as a mother losing her child. Life is so filled with pain in such an instance that faith is the only effective tool of navigation. We need to walk by faith not by sight because tears cloud vision (see II Corinthians 5:7). With faith one is able to look forward to seeing that child alive again -- in Christ.
C. People in faith are not always comfortable. As a mater of fact, the whole lesson of this chapter seems to be that faith can enable a believer to withstand great adversity. In verse 35, tortured is ƒÕƒäƒåƒÝƒàƒÑƒÞƒÙƒãƒáƒØƒãƒÑƒÞƒnwhich isƒn the usual meaning of the Greek word is ¡§to beat,¡¨ as a drum is beaten . . . . But inasmuch as the instrument of torture to which Eleazar (whose martyrdom is related in the preceding chapter of II Maccabees) was brought is called ƒäƒßƒnƒäƒåƒÝƒàƒÑƒÞƒßƒÞ (6:19,28), it has been supposed that the punishment re: to was the stretching of the victims, in the way of a rack, on a sort of wheel called a tympanum, on which they were then beaten to death, as Eliazar was. (See II Macc.7). Faith gives us a point to start, a place to go, and a way to get there.
III. AS A PATH: The walk of the faithful is sometimes lonely in the world (Hebrews 11:38).
A. The faithful may have to wander.
B. The world is unworthy of the faithful. Note that the world was ¡§unworthy¡¨ of these believers. This hints of God¡¦s own view of the faithful believer.
IV. AS A FAMILY: As a body, faith has many members which remain unknown except to God (Hebrews 11:39-40).
A. Some of the events and people to which this writer refers are evidently recorded in the Apocrypha. They died without seeing the arrival of the promised Messiah. V40 PERFECT = complete -- The entire system of revelation was not finished at once or in one generation. It required successive generations to make it complete, so that it might be said that it was finished or perfect. (P. 289) Barnes -- 227.87/Ba
B. An untold number of people have died in ages past without anyone knowing of their stand in the faith. They had less revelation on which to stand than we do. Remember the words quoted by Paul in Romans 11:2-5, which come from I Kings 19:10-18?