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Faithlife Corporation

Faith in Dry Times

Notes & Transcripts

Sermon on Hebrews 11:7

Outline:

Introduction:  Series is about faith challenges of many people throughout Scripture

          We know what it feels like to have a challenge to our faith.

1.    Challenge of faith:  By Definition it is when something is unseen.

2.     Challenge of faith:  It comes when we battle between holy fear and fitting in.

3.    Challenge of faith:  It may mean a posture of condemnation.

Conclusion

          Congregation,

          They’re back... theRedneck preachers are here again.  Oh no.  Run for the hills.  What we do in this area with the other preachers for the Christian Reformed Churches is we have a rotating series.

          This year our churches are looking at the different characters of faith from  Hebrews 11.  Christians often call the characters mentioned in Hebrews 11 the heroes of the faith.   We are specifically going o focus on five of the characters over the next five weeks. 

          We are going to hear some pretty familiar stories over the next five weeks, but we are going to take a unique look at how these people came to be heroes of the faith.  What we will find is that faithfulness doesn’t come easy.  Even for the heroes of the faith, they didn’t just stumble into a faith that that would give them renoun all around the world for thousands of years.  Its because they faced  some intense, life threatening, faith testing challenges.  And because they did the hard thing and remained faithful in the tough time, they have become famous for their faith. 

          I bet there are some here who are going through intense test of your faith.   I would describe a test of faith as moment when your confidence in the present and future goodness of God get stretched to their limits.  Will God come through on this one?  Or will this finally be the moment when God let’s go and you find out there was no point in faith any way.

          I am going to read the passage from Hebrews 11:7 here.  But first look back with me at the very first verse of the chapter.  The whole chapter is about faith and the way these heroes of the faith faced intense challenges to their faith.  But what exactly is faith?  Verse 1 says, “" Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." (Hebrews 11:1, NIV)

[1] 

          Faith is being sure of what we hold in expectation in our hearts.  Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.  It is not there in front of us.  That’s why it is faith. 

          The passage about Noah starts off in the same vein still as this definition of faith.  Read along with me. "By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith." (Hebrews 11:7, NIV) [2]

          The first faith challenge is this:  Have faith though you can’t see.  By definition it connects your heart with something unseeable, untangable, something that might border on the ridiculous or unreal.  That is a huge challenge, isn’t it.  Wouldn’t it be great if God decided to show himself to us in person.  It would either happen here at church or in shower.  It seems like those are the places I receive the most profound inspirations.

         

          That actually would put us on the same playing field as Noah.  If by definition, faith is your souls connection with something unseen then Noah’s challenge isn’t to his faith in the existence of God.  No because God came directly to Noah several times.  God was not something unseen to Noah.

          Noah’s faith challenge is in regards to God’s holiness.  Noah believed that God was so holy and pure and good that he would do what he promised and wipe out the world with a flood.  Noah didn’t have to have faith in the existence of God, he had to have faith in the goodness and purity and holiness and faithfulness of God.

          Faith, by definition must be in something unseen. That is the challenge for Noah, and it’s the same challenge yet today.  Do you dare to hope in the unseen because you know it to be true by the Holy Spirit in you?

 

          The second faith challenge is this.  Have faith though you won’t fit in.  Noah has to face in this: faith pulls you between holy fear and fitting in.  Go back to our passage again, what does it say?  "By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith." (Hebrews 11:7, NIV) [3]

 

PUT ON THE ALUMINUM HAT.

          Noah had two options that create this tension and faith challenge.  He could either worry about what everyone else thinks or he could do something ridiculous and build a humongous boat a long ways away from  any sort of major body of water.   The people of the day of Noah were wicked and violent and lived lives that went against God.  God said, Noah build a boat big enough for two of every animal. . .  that guy must have looked crazy.

          Why are you all staring at my hat?  Okay.  Here’s the deal.  I received a message last night that said, the whole world is going to be destroyed by radiation that can only be warded off by hats of aluminum foil.  So because that’s the message I received I am going to wear this aluminum hat in faith.  Because faith is being sure of God’s message even when others think it looks silly.  You think this looks bad, it took me all of two minutes to put this together.  Try dedicating your life to something that looks silly, like a big boat in the middle of no where. 

          But that challenge, Noah met head on. And how about us, when others think its crazy. 

          Did I actually receive a message about radiation and aluminum hats.  No.  But imagine how ridiculous it is to build a boat in the middle of nowhere for years and years and wait for years and years before even a single drop of water comes down.  Think of the ridicule and the abuse and the persecution Noah and his whole household must have experienced because of it.

          Faith puts you in that challenging spot.  Are you going to wait in faith when you feel like the odd one out.  Or are you going to give in and ignore God.  The passage says Noah had a holy fear.  He had such reverence and respect and trusted so fully in the goodness of God and that he is going to come through on his promises that Noah did not back down because he feared people. 

          I can’t help but wonder about us in this world.  Don’t Christians look crazy?  Yes they do.  They sing songs together and there is no audience.  They close their eyes and talk to a Holy Spirit.  They have been waiting for year and year for Jesus Christ to return, but he hasn’t shown up yet.  Many people could ridicule and say we look nuts. 

          And what are we going to do through it all.   Hopefully, when we feel crazy because that the way someone pictures us, it moves us to follow the example of Noah.  Holy Reverence.  God.  My faith cannot see, but it does trust and believe in your promises.  Scrap your aluminum hats.

          So the first challenge is having faith though you can’t see.  Noah had to deal with is the same as anyone of faith.  Faith is challenging because it means trusting something you do not yet see. 

          The second challenge is the challenge to have faith though you won’t fit in.  Fear the Lord in faith instead of fearing the ridicule of others.

          The third faith challenge I hear coming out of the passage is one that is supremely difficult to wrap our minds around.  The third challenge that Noah faced was this:  Have faith though it doesn’t lead to the fairy tale ending.  The story of Noah is EPIC.  Not fairy tale.  Epic.  Huge.  There is destruction and death on a global scale.  We hear that Noah had faith even though he knew it meant the destruction of the world as he knew it.    The end of verse 7 says, "By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith." (Hebrews 11:7, NIV) [4]         By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

          There came a point for Noah after he had warned others about the flood and after people, he made the choice that he was going to trust in life with God instead of the life with sinful man. 

          Some of us are probably in the spot right now where our continual trust in Jesus Christ leads to a real faith challenging time.  You believe with out ever seeing that Jesus Christ died on the cross to make your life better today and give you eternal life for ever.   Sounds kind of like you might need your aluminum foil hat on again soon....

          If that’s where you are at know that Noah did it and he chose righteousness.  He chose life.  He chose reality with God over the condemnation of teh world. 

          And some of us here, my not have lived the life of faith yet that has looked a little  foolish. Well there is still time.  You can join this foolish looking party of faith.  We need to start looking a little foolish again.  Have people look at us side ways because we are doing something in the name of Jesus Christ and by the ability of his holy spirit.  Try it. 


----

[1]  The Holy Bible : New International Version. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984

[2]  The Holy Bible : New International Version. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984

[3]  The Holy Bible : New International Version. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984

[4]  The Holy Bible : New International Version. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984

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