Summary: Biblical faith is real, practical and experiential. Faith is dependency on God. Practical faith is (1) believing when you don’t see it, and (2) obeying when you don’t understand it.
Turn with me to Hebrews 11. Look through and you’ll see these words: BY FAITH…
• We have here a list of men (and woman) in history that have exercised faith in God and saw the acts of God in their lives.
• Biblical faith is not an emotion or a feeling. It is not abstract or intangible. It is real, practical and experiential.
CHARACTERISTICS of these experiences in Heb 11:
(1) God is central. Faith is dependency on God.
• Faith is to trust in God that God will do what He said He would do.
• God acts in response to man’s faith in Him. When we trust God’s Word, we see God’s works!
(2) Faith is practical. We exercise faith by acting on what we believe.
• James says, “Faith without works is dead” (2:26); faith is not a theory or a belief.
• Real faith works, because God responds to the faith that we place upon Him.
• When we act on faith, we will see the fruit of faith. God’s will is done because men chose to trust Him.
A tourist came too close to the edge of the Grand Canyon, lost his footing and plunged over the side, clawing and scratching to save himself. He went out of sight and just before he fell into space, he stumbled upon a bush which he desperately grabbed with both hands.
Filled with terror, he cried out, "Help! Somebody please help! Is there anyone up there?"
A calm, powerful voice came out of the sky, "Yes, I’m here."
The tourist pleaded, "Help me, I’m stuck.”
The calm voice replied, "Yes, I can help. What happened?"
"I fell over the cliff and am now dangling by the side. I don’t think I can hold on much longer."
The voice said, "Don’t worry. Trust me. Just let go.”
There was silence for a moment. The voice said again, “Trust me, just let loose of the bush and everything will be fine."
There was another pause, then the tourist yelled out, "Is there anyone else up there?"
He can’t trust his word. The tourist was dangling only about 2 metres from a pavement below. Let go and I’ll catch you. But that’s not easy for many of us.
It’s one thing to talk about faith – it’s quite another to act on faith!
All of us struggle with this issue - whether you are a young believer who has just taken the first step of faith and accepted Christ, or a seasoned Christian trying to grapple with a great tragedy in life - we all struggle with having faith in God.
• We are going to look at Hebrews 11 and derive 4 Principles (practical statements) that can help us better exercise faith in everyday life.
(1) FAITH IS BELIEVING WHEN YOU DON’T SEE IT
11:1 “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”
11:7 “By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family.”
The order is very clear here. Faith must come before seeing it.
• We’re called to trust God even when you cannot see it.
• I don’t like this. I want to see and then believe, but then, if you see it, you don’t need faith.
• Faith is what God expects from us. Faith is what God is please with. If you truly trust me, you don’t have to see it to believe it.
A pastor’s small son was told by his mother that he should wash his hands because there were germs living in all that dirt. He was reprimanded many times for this.
One day he complained: "Germs and Jesus! Germs and Jesus! That’s all I ever hear around this house and I’ve never seen either one."
They are both real, it’s just that you don’t see them.
• Some things have to be believed before you can see them. We have to believe it in advance.
• It sounds like a contradiction, but the Bible teaches that faith is visualizing the future in the present.
• Because God has full knowledge, but not us. He sees the end from the beginning, not us.
The earth rotates on its axis once each day. Since the circumference of the earth at the equator is 24,901.55 miles, a spot on the equator rotates at approximately 1,037.5646 miles per hour (1,669.8 km/h).
In addition to the rotational speed of the earth spinning on its axis, the earth is also speeding at about 66,660 miles per hour (107,278.87 km/h) in its revolution around the sun once ever 365.2425 days.
It is moving, but we feel nothing. We don’t always see or feel what is true.
So if we are doing everything by sight and nothing by faith, we are only doing what is humanly possible. We are going to see only the fruits of human efforts. There is nothing supernatural, nothing miraculous.