SERIES: FINDING THE FAITH WE NEED
LESSON: SEEING BY FAITH
INTRO: It is nearly impossible for a child of God to read Hebrews 11 and not thrill at the wording, the promises and the potential. It begins, "Faith is the assurance of things hoped for the conviction of things not seen," and ends this way, "And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect."(1,39)
· FAITH MAKES HEROES AND HEROINES OUT OF REGULAR PEOPLE- V. 2
- This Chapter Is Often Referred To As The "Hall of Faith."
- And like the Hall of Fame it has people, but their names have been entered:
- Not because of superior athleticism, imagination, or inventive acumen.
- God has entered these men and women from different circumstances, and having different personalities for one thing in common- FAITH!
- In all the names entered faith can be seen to have these special qualities:
- An unfaltering trust in God.
- Their vision of the invisible.
- Their power to press in hope.
- Here are some of the things accomplished by faith
- Read -vs 32-38
- For their faith they are to be commended by God and imitated by us.
- The Christians Of This Letter Were Given This List To Encourage Them
- It is easier when we know that someone else has walked in the same shoes earlier
- We too become discouraged. "What's the use we ask? Then we look at Heb. 11!
· WHO ARE THESE CHAMPIONS AND WHAT DID THEY DO?
- ABEL-(v.4) "offered a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain
- Was it the actual sacrifice that made the difference? Perhaps.
- Abel worked with animals and Cain worked with grain.
- Both animals and grain were acceptable offerings
- But remember something given to God is not necessarily a sacrifice.God is not needy.
- A "sacrifice" is made by a person; one trying to offer God his best not just ritual.
- The Bible clearly says that Abel did it "by faith." What about Cain?
- The original account also gives us a glimpse of the brothers- Genesis 4:4-10
- I John 3:12 says "We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother's righteous."
- We can conclude that Abel lived by faith in God and Cain did not.
- ILLUST: Misplaced Faith
- Application: Our lives are to be sacrifices, as are our thoughts and words. Our songs and prayers should be sacrificial. Saying and doing all things correctly does not make you and acceptable sacrifice. Evil thoughts negate your good deed. If you hate you are in the "murderer" class with Cain. Just ask Jesus! Matthew 5.
- ENOCH-(v.5) was taken up so that he should not see death.
- We don't know much about Enoch just his family relatives.
- What we do know is powerful- "Enoch walked with God ... 300 years" Gen. 5:22.
- The long-time relationship with God was one of faith. He truly trusted.
- The only promise of victory in Jesus included "be faithful till death."
- Of interest: When the patriarchs like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph were said to be pleasing to God, the word for pleasing is the same as "walked with God."
- The faith of Enoch allowed him to be commended by God. His commendation included, "You are pleasing to Me." God.
- Application: In order for us to receive commendation from God we must live our lives by faith in the unseen till we die. Some will face circumstances more trying than others. Don't quit. Truly life is not fair...just ask Jesus. We have the victory through Him. "The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain."- I Cor. 15:56-58
- NOAH-(v.7) "in reverent fear constructed an ark to the saving of his household."
- He lived in one of the lowest times of recorded history- Gen. 6:2-8.
- People must have heckled him and called him names, "dreamer," "deluded."
- Yet unlike EVERYBODY around him, His faith allowed him to glimpse the unseen!
- So he gathered and chopped and pounded and probably prayed for strength.
- By this act of faith, Noah became "an heir of righteousness."
- Like all human being, Noah was a sinner- Gen. 9:20-24.
- But listen, after spending more than a year with stinking animals and birds, Noah exits the floating zoo:
- The FIRST thing he did was offer a sacrifice to God! Gen. 8:20.
- That is faith in action. He lived by faith.
- ILLUST: Every Step Counts
- Application: Living by faith is to not be swayed by what this world has to offer! It also means that we must not take our cues as to what is acceptable or unacceptable by what others are doing. Jesus made it clear with his "narrow and broad paths" that most people will take the path of least resistance, seeking pleasure and ease and end up in hell. Faith allows us to "see" our "hope" with eyes they don't have. We need to continue building our funny looking boats in the midst of jeering crowds..."to the saving of our households."
CONCLUSION: A valuable lesson for us is in v. 6 Becoming and remaining a child of God is centered in faith. But more, this verse speaks of looking into the unseen by faith that will bring a reward. Don't fight it, it is right here on the page. ILLUST: The Big Hotel
ILUSTRATIONS USED IN THIS LESSON
In April 1988 the evening news reported on a photographer who was a skydiver. He had jumped from a plane along with numerous other skydivers and filmed the group as they fell and opened their parachutes. On the film shown on the telecast, as the final skydiver opened his chute, the picture went berserk. The announcer reported that the cameraman had fallen to his death, having jumped out of the plane without his parachute. It wasn't until he reached for the absent ripcord that he realized he was freefalling without a parachute. Until that point, the jump probably seemed exciting and fun. But tragically, he had acted with thoughtless haste and deadly foolishness. Nothing could save him, for his faith was in a parachute never buckled on. Faith in anything but an all-sufficient God can be just as tragic spiritually. Only with faith in Jesus Christ dare we step into the dangerous excitement of life.
Every Step Counts
People who want to feel better, reduce stress, and shed unwanted pounds are discovering that walking may be the best exercise of all. A fitness philosophy of 10,000 steps a day, which first took hold in Japan, is gaining popularity in other countries. Experts advise starting slowly and working toward a higher goal, realizing each day that every step counts.
It's even more important to stay spiritually fit by "walking with God," which the Bible describes as an intimate, growing relationship with the Lord. "Enoch walked with God three hundred years" (Genesis 5:22). "Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God" (6:9).
To walk with God, we need to keep in step without running ahead or lagging behind. Along the way, we talk with the Lord, listen to Him, and enjoy His presence. We trust His guidance when we cannot see what lies ahead. It is not just the destination that's important, but the journey we take together.
There's no better time than now to begin walking with God, because each day every step counts. —David C. McCasland
Knowing God will take a lifetime, Walking with Him day by day,
Learning all we can about Him, Loving Him in every way.
The Big Hotel
George Boldt worked faithfully for years at the front desk in a small hotel. One day an elderly couple came into the lobby and asked for a place to stay. Every room in the hotel—and every hotel in town—was occupied. Realizing that the elderly couple had nowhere to sleep, Boldt offered them his own room. Although they were reluctant to accept his offer, they eventually did so because George insisted.
The next morning when the couple was checking out, the elderly man said to George, "You're the kind of man who should be managing the best hotel in the country. Some day I'm going to build that hotel and let you manage it."
Several years later, Boldt received a letter in the mail. It contained a round-trip ticket and a note from the man to whom he had given his room years before. The man invited George to visit him in New York City.
When Boldt arrived in New York, the gentleman took him to a downtown corner where a huge building stood. “George, this is the hotel I built for you to manage."
Boldt stared in amazement at the glorious structure. The hotel was the Waldorf-Astoria! The elderly man was William Waldorf Astor, one of the wealthiest men in the country. Boldt’s faithfulness in managing a small hotel had prepared him to manage one of the most magnificent hotels this country has ever seen.
On judgment day, God will examine how well we managed our lives on earth. If we were faithful in fulfilling our responsibilities in this life, He will assign us better things to manage in the next life. (Kent Crockett, Making Today Count for Eternity, Sisters, OR: Multnomah Publishers, 2001, pp. 50-51)