Summary: Explains what Faith is. 3rd sermon in series on faith.

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- Hebrews 11:1-6

> Hebrews 11:6 Now without faith it is impossible to please God, for the one who draws near to Him must believe that He exists and rewards those who seek Him.

Over the past several weeks we have looked at the life that pleases God, from several different vantage points. During that time we have started here several times. Especially with this verse. Hebrews 11:6. Read that with me please.

> Hebrews 11:6 Now without faith it is impossible to please God, for the one who draws near to Him must believe that He exists and rewards those who seek Him.

Last week we looked at one of the primary ways that we go about increasing our faith. But, let me ask you this morning, “What is faith and how do you know you have it?”

Many of you know Jim Elliot. He was a missionary in Ecuador, who with four other missionaries, was killed by Indians while trying to witness to them. He was 28 years old when he died. This past Friday night, my brother-in-law had the opportunity to meet his grandson and also to meet one of the Indians, now in his 80s, who killed Jim, but who also came to know the Lord because of the faith of Jim and his family.

Many of you also know Tim and Bunny Cain, right here in our congregation. Many of you are aware that Tim and Bunny were taken captive by gorillas while serving as missionaries in South America. They were eventually freed.

Let me ask you, “Was their faith any greater than Jim Elliot’s? Is that why they were spared while Jim and the missionaries with him died?”

Look there again in Hebrews chapter 11. Look there at verse 32.

- Read 32-39

Did you see that? These verses begin by describing people who miraculously escaped impossible situations and then went to people who died in the middle of impossible situations. Some lived and some died. Some God miraculously delivered and others He did not. Verse 39, however, tells us that all of these were approved through their faith. **Ask, “How many of them were approved?”

If having faith doesn’t mean that you always get what you want, if it doesn’t mean that God always miraculously delivers you, then what is faith? That’s a rather important question since the Bible says we can’t please God without it.

My friends, faith has more to do with obedience, obedience in spite of the circumstances, obedience in spite of what you see, than it does with anything else.


Turn with me please to the book of Daniel. Daniel chapter 3 and verse 16.

- Daniel 3:16-17

Many of you are familiar with this passage of Scripture. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednigo have been brought up before the king. The king has erected a giant statue and has said that everyone had to bow down and worship that statue. He said that anyone who did not bow down and worship the stupid thing would be thrown into a furnace; they would be thrown into a fire.

Well, the three young heroes of this story said that they worshipped the true God and that they couldn’t bow down and worship anything or anyone but God. That’s the verses we just read.

So, the king got ticked. He had the fire heated even hotter than usual and order that these three men be thrown into it. The fire was so hot that when these men were thrown in, that the men who threw them in were killed by the heat.

But these men, nothing happened to them. As a matter of fact, someone else ended up being in the fire with them, so there were four in the fire walking around. The king saw them, and called the guys out. That’s normally where we stop telling the story and make the point that if your faith is great enough, that God will deliver you from impossible situations. But that’s not the point of the account.

There are 2 points to this account. The first is that God can deliver if He chooses to. The second is that we are to be faithful; we are to be obedient, even if He doesn’t choose to deliver us at that time.

We looked at Daniel 3:16-17. Now look at chapter 3 and verse 18.

- Daniel 3:18

My friends, when Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednigo stood before the king, they knew God was able to save them, but they were not convinced He was going to save them. But they said, whether He delivers us or not, we will obey.

My friend, that’s what faith is.

Faith is “trusting God enough to obey even when you’re not sure it will work out in the short run.” [Larry Osborne, Contrarian’s Guide to Knowing God, Colorado Springs, CO( Multnomah, 2007), 108].

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