Summary: A study in the characteristics of faith
I. Faith is Absolute Assurance
A. Substance = hupostasis = a standing under = confidence (the quality of confidence which leads one to stand under, endure, undertake anything.
B. Hebrews 11:1a "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for...?
C. ASV - Hebrews 11:1a ?Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for...?
D. Darby - Hebrews 11:1a ?Now faith is [the] substantiating of things hoped for...?
E. YLT - Hebrews 11:1a ?And faith is of things hoped for a confidence...?
F. Faith is the title deed to all that God has promised.
G. Faith is hoping for something and possessing it because God is and has promised it.
H. John Powell - Most of us, in our desire for meaningful faith, seem to be saying to God: "Show me, and I’ll believe!" This approach never works. God has made it very clear to us, in the life and teaching of his Son Jesus, that the process must be reversed. He is saying to us: "Believe in me, and I’ll show you."
I. Faith produces present possession of eternal life
? John 3:36 "He that believes on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believes not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abides on him."
? I have everlasting life
J. Faith produces possession of answered prayer
1. Matthew 21:22 "And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive."
2. 1 John 5:14-15 "And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he hears us.  And if we know that he hears us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him."
K. Faith is substance not a stab in the dark.
II. Faith is Concrete Conviction
A. Hebrews 11:1b ?...the evidence of things not seen."
B. ASV - Hebrews 11:1b ?...the conviction of things not seen.?
C. Darby - Hebrews 11:1b ?...[the] conviction of things not seen.?
D. YLT - Hebrews 11:1b ?...of matters not seen a conviction,?
E. Martin Luther ? Faith is the "yes" of the heart, a conviction on which one stakes one’s life.
F. II Timothy 1:12 "For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed. For I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day."
G. Faith is not merely you holding on to God--it is God holding on to you.
H. Psalms 37:5 "Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass."
I. In a sermon, Juan Carlos Ortiz spoke of a conversation with a circus trapeze artist. The performer admitted the net underneath was there to keep them from breaking their necks, but added, "The net also keeps us from falling. Imagine there is no net. We would be so nervous that we would be more likely to miss and fall. If there were not a net, we would not dare to do some of the things we do. But because there’s a net, we dare to make turns, and once I made three turns -- thanks to the net!? Ortiz makes this observation: "We have security in God. When we are sure in his arms, we dare to attempt big things for God. We dare to be holy. We dare to be obedient. We dare, because we know the eternal arms of God will hold us if we fall."