Summary: The first of a study in Faith.
What is Faith?
As we begin our walk as a church, Walk By Faith Christian Fellowship, we need to set a strong foundation on our faith. Over the next 2 months, we are going to be studying the word of God, and what it tells us about our faith. There is no better chapter to learn about faith than Hebrews 11. So as we begin, let us open our hearts and our ears to hear what God wants to teach us. Let us pray:
Faith is a very odd word. I mean to say, people use it in so many contexts. I have faith that when I get up to go to work that my car will start. When I get up and turn on the light switch, I have faith that the light will indeed come on. I have faith that when I breathe in, I will receive a supply of oxygen that will “hold me over” till my next breath. When my wife, Lisa, prepares a meal, I have faith that I will enjoy it, right?
When I go to a doctor, I have faith in his credentialing without ever confirming his ability, do I? He sends me to get a prescription of something that I have never heard of , and I have faith that those little pills are going to make me better! Yet I do not know if I am getting the right pills, do I?
We use the word faith in so many ways. “Just keep the faith, brother.” But just what does ‘faith’ really mean? Is it a slogan? Is it just a idea that we believe in? Maybe it is the belief in the right doctrine? Or is it just merely a concept?
I can tell you this much, the Bible refers to the word ‘faith’ more than 230 times. That tells us that it is a VERY important part of our Christian walk. I ask you this evening, do you now the difference between ‘having faith’, and ‘believing’? Well, Merriam-Webster defines faith as “allegiance to duty or a person: loyalty! a fidelity to one’s promises.” Believe is defined as to accept as true, genuine, or real. These two words seem very similar in meaning, don’t they?
Keep in mind that I believe in the strength of a bungee cord to hold my weight if I were to jump off a bridge while tied to one end of it? But would I have enough faith in it to jump? I don’t know! That would take a lot of faith in another person’s knowledge and experience!
Let’s see what the Word of God says.
Hebrew 11:1-6 says, “ Now faith is assurance of things hoped for, a conviction of things not seen. For therein the elders had witness borne to them. By faith we understand that the worlds have been framed by the word of God, so that what is seen hath not been made out of things which appear. By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he had witness borne to him that he was righteous, God bearing witness in respect of his gifts: and through it he being dead yet speaketh. By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and he was not found, because God translated him: for he hath had witness borne to him that before his translation he had been well-pleasing unto God: And without faith it is impossible to be well-pleasing unto him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that seek after him.”
Verse 1 tells us that faith is the assurance of things hoped for, a conviction of things not seen. Did you catch that? The assurance of things hoped for, a conviction of things not seen! We could not see the world being made, and what it is made of, yet we believe that it is real, don’t we? I mean, is there anyone here that does not believe that we are not here? That the world does not exist? God willed it, so it is so!
Verse 3 gives a great illustration of just that. It says, “By faith, we understand that the universe was put together by God’s word. What we see was made from what we cannot see.”
Let’s read together chapter 10 vs 32-39. “Don’t ever forget those wonderful days when you first learned about Christ. Remember how you kept right on with the Lord even though it meant terrible suffering. Sometimes you were laughed at and beaten, and sometimes you watched and sympathized with others suffering the same things. You suffered with those thrown into jail, and you were actually joyful when all you owned was taken from you, knowing that better things were awaiting you in heaven, things that would be yours forever. Do not let this happy trust in the Lord die away, no matter what happens. Remember your reward! You need to keep on patiently doing God’s will if you want him to do for you all that he has promised. His coming will not be delayed much longer. And those whose faith has made them good in God’s sight must live by faith, trusting him in everything. Otherwise, if they shrink back, God will have no pleasure in them. But we have never turned our backs on God and sealed our fate. No, our faith in him assures our souls’ salvation.”