"the hope that faith built"
(A Series on Hebrews)
Westgate Chapel 5/18/03 Hebrews 11:1
PROPOSITION: God has prepared a heavenly city for those who live by faith, whose actions are based on faith, whose objective is the city of God, seen by faith, whose commendation is that they please God by their faith.
- HOPE is a powerful human emotion.
- WE are seeing some of the most significant changes in Europe witnessed by any generation since the beginning of time, and the fuel of this change was hope. The people have seen a glimmer of hope, in Poland, in Yugoslavia, in East Germany, that they can be free of tyranny......and that hope has defied the might of the Soviet Union.
- WHEN Pastor Barry and I visited Communist China last summer, we saw the results of a hope that had been shattered, and its effect on the faces of the people of Canton, and in the hearts of the people of Hong Kong.
- WHO knows what the hopes of the peoples of Eastern Europe will produce. It is uncertain exactly what will come of all this upheaval. I am not sure that we are aware of the possible dangers of what we are seeing take place in Europe right now......and its affect on the fundamentalist Moslem world.
- THE military might of the Soviet Union could be in Shiite hands in a few years.
- YOU see, concerning the subject of hope, it doesn't matter if it is political freedom we are talking about for Lithuania, or your future at Boeing regarding the lay-offs, or the seismic stability of the Puget Sound, or the restoration of your health, or the safety of your children........hope, by itself, is full of uncertainty.
- YOU can have all the hope you like, but there are no guarantees for how things will turn out. There are too many variables at work.......in Soviet politics, in corporate politics, in the stock market, in the forces beneath the geological fault lines here in the West.....or the forces at work in your life.
- HOPE is cramped by unpredictability.......You and I cannot control all that influences our lives. We live at the mercy of outside forces that are completely unpredictable.
- HOPE is retarded by human fears. It is human to fear, and we are all susceptible to its power.
- WE have all held on to hope, at some time or another in our lives, only to have hope let us down.
- HOPE, by itself, is not enough to get us through.
- WITHOUT faith, hope is uncertain, unpredictable, retarded by fear, and based on subjective information.
- BUT I am not here to talk to you about hope that is without faith.
- I WANT the Word of God to make a difference in your life and mine.
- I WANT you to be able to live in a hope that is not uncertain, that is not unpredictable.......a hope that is not torn by fear........that is not based on subjective information but objective truth.
- TURN with me to Hebrews 11 please.
- HERE are believers who have been torn from their homes in Israel because of religious persecution.
* They have had to leave family behind.
* They have been forced to relocate in communities in the Roman Empire that are also hostile to them as Jews and as Christians.
* They have left their jobs behind and all of their security.
* They are starting over in a foreign land.
- WHERE is their hope?
- SOME were starting to lose hope.
- AND in this context the writer of Hebrews says........
ii. faith.....the attitude of heart
"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." (Hebrews 11:1)
- THE Greek word that is translated "being sure of" in the NIV is translated "substance" in King James and has several meanings.
- FAITH is the substance of things hoped for.
* Faith provides something real and solid for what is hoped for, although it is still unseen.
* Faith stands underneath, as in a foundation, for what is hoped for.
* Faith is the full confidence of things hoped for.
* Faith renders them certain, sees them as rightly belonging to us, and takes possession, by anticipation, of things hoped for, although still unseen.
- THERE is a sampling of meanings for the "substance" in Hebrews 11:1.
- THIS is the faith that makes hope sure, it gives substance to hope because it is founded on the objective reality of the unchanging promises of God who cannot lie.
- FAITH is not cause and effect, as if it is something that we produce, and then God rewards.
- FAITH is not an emotion that we work up.
- FAITH is simply our response to God's grace.....enabled by Him in the first place. We can't take any credit for it at all.
- YOU see, your life and mine are not made entirely of what is seen. In fact, the majority of what we are and where we are going is determined in the unseen spiritual world.
- WE are not human beings having temporary spiritual experiences.
- WE are spiritual beings having a temporary human experience.
- THE believer is energized by the conviction that it is the very things that are not yet seen, the things that he appropriates by faith, that are real and permanent.
- AND only faith can prove the existence of these unseen realities, and actually possess them, until they are seen.
- AND here is the conflict where the fight of faith is fought. Calvin best described it.
"These two things (Seen and unseen) apparently contradict each other, but yet they agree perfectly when we are concerned with faith. The Spirit of God shows us hidden things, the knowledge of which cannot reach our senses. Eternal life is promised to us, but it is promised to the dead; we are told of the resurrection of the blessed, but mean time we are involved in corruption; we are declared to be just, and sin dwells in us; we hear that we are blessed, but meantime we are overwhelmed by untold miseries; we are promised an abundance of all good things, but we are often hungry and thirsty; God proclaims that He will come to us immediately, but seems to be deaf to our cries. What would happen to us if we did not rely on our hope, and if our minds did not emerge above the world, out of the midst of darkness, through the shining Word of God and His Spirit? Faith is therefore rightly called the substance of things which are still the objects of hope and the evidence of things not seen.”
- IT was this faith in the unseen, birthed in the hearts of men and women of God in the Old Testament by the revelation of God that changed their lives and their circumstances.
- WITHOUT the revelation of God, there is no faith, only blind hope.
- ROMANS 10:17 says that faith comes by hearing (revelation) and hearing comes from the Word of God.
- THE Word of God reveals the unseen world, and implants the grace of God that enables you to believe it until it becomes seen. NO Word no faith.
GREAT IS THY FAITHFULNESS