Faithlife Sermons

Faith

What is Faith  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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What is Faith?

What is does it mean to have Faith?
Hebrews 11:1–12 NASB95
1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the men of old gained approval. 3 By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible. 4 By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks. 5 By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; and he was not found because God took him up; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. 7 By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith. 8 By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; 10 for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore there was born even of one man, and him as good as dead at that, as many descendants as the stars of heaven in number, and innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.
the bridge between reason and God is faith.
What do we need?
(Illustration) The Cliff
A man fell off a cliff, but managed to grab a tree limb on the way down.
The following conversation ensued:
“Is anyone up there?”
“I am here. I am the Lord. Do you believe me?”
“Yes, Lord, I believe. I really believe, but I can’t hang on much longer.”
“That’s all right, if you really believe you have nothing to worry about. I
will save you. Just let go of the branch.”
A moment of pause, then: “Is anyone else up there?”
That’s what a faithless life looks like. You’re hanging by a tree branch, about to fall to your eternal separation from God and God reaches out and tells us how we can be saved, we just have to trust, trusting an immaterial being you cannot see can seem extremely scary but when we first let go of being in control and allowing God to be in control that shows our first step in faith.
There is a bridge between reason and God. A complicated piece of the puzzle that many think is a rival to reasoning but that is just not the case. This piece of the puzzle that bridges the gap between reasoning for God is having faith.
faith and reason work in harmony for a persons betterment in their belief in God. without reasoning and faith coming together then there would be blind faith and blind faith is being illogical.
Once you reason that God is real you must then put your faith in that God whom you believe to be real and in our case that would be Yahweh, that would be the God of the Bible.
We need to trust that the evidence for God is that of the triune God. Yahweh.
We still must have faith when it comes to connecting the knowledge of the existence of God and that the God that exists is Yahweh and not a different idea of god.
Well, let me share a short story that can illustrate a faithless life.
A man fell off a cliff, but managed to grab a tree limb on the way down.
The following conversation ensued:
you need to have faith that the God we believe in, is the God of the Bible.
“Is anyone up there?”
“I am here. I am the Lord. Do you believe me?”
“Yes, Lord, I believe. I really believe, but I can’t hang on much longer.”
“That’s all right, if you really believe you have nothing to worry about. I
will save you. Just let go of the branch.”
A moment of pause, then: “Is anyone else up there?”
That’s what a faithless life looks like. You’re hanging by a tree branch, about to fall to your eternal death and God reaches out and tells us how we can be saved, we just must take that leap and that leap can seem extremely scary when we first let go of being in control and allowing God to be in control.
You’ve got to have faith in the Lord in order to be saved from eternity separated from the Creator.
And you also need to have faith that the God we argue for, is the God of the Bible.
today we are going to answer the question, what does it mean to have faith because without faith we can know there is a creator, but we must have faith that the creator is the triune God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit).
So, if you can turn with me to Hebrews chapter 11, we are going to answer what it means to have faith so turn with me to and while you’re doing that I’ll give you an overview of the book of Hebrews.
Hebrews is an interesting book because it gives no author and people would like to claim that Paul wrote it, maybe one of Paul’s closest colleagues Barnabas is the author. we are not for sure but we are sure it is Gods Word.
In order to know what we are reading we have to look at the context of when it was written and to whom it was written. So, the book of Hebrews is a letter written to a group of Hebrew Christians who have in their generation not yet experienced persecution but can look back in the past and remember the persecution that had happened to Christians, these Christians had a high risk of persecution to come which means that this letter was written in the middle of two great times of persecution. The first was in the time of Nero approximately AD 64 and then next was in the reign of Domitian about AD 85. The letter was written to a church that had great teachers and leaders, a church that previously suffered persecution, a church that was not directly founded by any Apostle. When we sum it all up, we can say that Hebrews is a letter written by a great teacher to a little group of Hebrew Christians in Rome. He was their teacher; at the time he was separated from them and was afraid that they were drifting away from the faith; and so, he wrote this letter to them insuring that the Christians stayed the course even though there was possible persecution.
So, we pick up in .
Passage: NASB
“1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
2 For by it the men of old gained approval.
3 By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.
Faith is the assurance of things hoped for. We hope for a place in heaven when we have faith in God, since we have this hope we can look past persecution and onto eventually going to heaven.
It is important to understand that on the verge of persecution or being persecuted, we as Christians need to keep our faith in the Lord. Just because we may be persecuted does not make it unique because we can look back in Christian history and see all of the extremely horrible persecuting our Christian brothers and sisters have had to go through. We have to look at the past in order to figure out the how to pursue the future with faith in the Lord which is one reason for the proceeding verses in the book of Hebrews.
Verse 3, as I said before you have to put faith in the one true God that created all of this, He designed this world out of nothing (so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.)
1. Faith is having assurance of things hoped for in the worst situations.
2. Faith is having trust that God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) is the Creator of the universe from nothing.
Let’s continue.
4By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks.
So, because of faith, Abel gave a better sacrifice than Cain and because of this great faith Abel had that Cain did not have, Abel obtained righteousness from God, because Abel obtained righteousness Cain was jealous and killed Abel. Abel was killed because the faith he had was shown to be much greater than Cain’s.
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Have you ever seen someone who has great faith be persecuted for that?
For us keeping faith is to live a Christ like life no matter what situation, temptation, persecution comes our way. It’s a way to keep moving forward and in this instance for Abel, it was that he had such faith in the Lord that he gave much more of what he had than Cain. If you have much faith you’ll be moved to give more and someone might come along and try to knock you down because they see you have this thing that they don’t have which is faith, it might even be a brother or sister in Christ that’s jealous of seeing how much you have faith and how much you give and feels like they aren’t on the same level which can happen.
Personally, I’ve felt that way when I would see people my own age that clearly when it comes to spiritual maturity, they were on a whole different atmosphere of having faith in the Lord than I was, but I didn’t kill them.
5By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; AND HE WAS NOT FOUND BECAUSE GOD TOOK HIM UP; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up, he was pleasing to God.
This small story is found in (). Enoch lived three hundred and sixty-five years on earth, he had faith, it says he pleased God which he would not have been able to do without having faith, so Enoch must or could have pleased God all of his life in order to be in such favor with God that He took Enoch up.
Now I’m not sure if we have anybody today worthy of having God take them up because of their righteousness in faith but it’s still cool.
I think the closest person to perfection other than Donald Trump… would have to be Mother Teresia, what she did in India saved millions of lives. She had such faith and carelessness for her own safety that she went to India, made a hospital and saved peoples lives all the while bringing people to the Lord. That’s impressive, and what did she get from the Indian people for doing these things? Heavy persecution, she was to Indians what we would think of as Hitler because she was healing people who they believed needed to die in order to burn off their so-called “bad Karma.
Closest person I can think of to perfection.
Have you ever thought, is it possible to live a perfect life?
Can we have faith in the Lord so strong that we live a truly Christ-like life?
I believe we can but that comes with a lot of discipline that none of us have.
Essentially, it’s not impossible but it is improbable, its not practical to reach that kind of perfection in today’s world, especially but Jesus did show us how to have a Christ-like life.
Let’s go on…
6And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
How many people around the world try to please God by their works and not their faith?
Catholics, Muslims even though they’re not working to please the only real God, Jews same thing but many Christians believe that we need to work in order to gain our rewards but it’s the faith we have in the Lord with the strengthening of the relationship with God, we are moved to wanting to do things for others. If we serve others with the heart of, mannnnn I bet God will love that I’m doing this. is your heart in the right place? NOPE.
When you have faith in the Lord you automatically, when growing your relationship with Him, you will be moved to serving others without feeling like you must do this but that you want to serve. Just like Abel, he had such great faith that he gave a lot to God because he had faith that the Lord would provide.
Lets go on…
7By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.
Noah’s faith is demonstrated in the remarkable building project he undertook solely on the strength of his confidence in God’s promise. Noah’s faith was justified while the world that did not heed God’s warning was destroyed.
Let’s compare what this means today, there are often times where we are all warned of something, we all hear the warning yet not everyone listens. Take hurricane warnings for instance, we can track a hurricane about 2 weeks before it hits yet how many people every year get the warning and still do not listen, they say I can ride it out and then they’re drowning in their own house because they don’t want to put in the effort for preparing.
The people that heeded the warning, had faith in those who were telling them how bad the hurricane was going to hit and that the warning was accurate and prepared or left the place that was in danger.
How many of us have been warned of something and didn’t prepare or know someone who didn’t prepare?
You can answer this question in so many ways, such as for me smoking pot is not a good idea. My warning which was one of many came when I was driving to charlotte about 5 years ago for a soccer game smoking for the first time and ran through a stop light turning right to go to Bojangles and I pull I the parking lot in my little scion and as my buddy was pulling out the weed I look in my rearview mirror and my heart pretty much stopped, there was a cop getting out of his car that followed us to Bojangles, never even saw him and I tell my buddy to put that mess away. Cop comes up and tells me I ran a stop light, he gave me a warning and went on his way. That for me was the last time I ever smoked weed, that was a solid warning to stop then before I could have become a different person if I did not heed the warning. The bottom line is that Noah had faith in God, listened, he heeded the warning from God, and from that warning he knew Gods promise was valid therefore he did what God asked.
Lets read verses 8-12…
8By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going.
9By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise;
10for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
11By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised.
12Therefore there was born even of one man, and him as good as dead at that, as many descendants AS THE STARS OF HEAVEN IN NUMBER, AND INNUMERABLE AS THE SAND WHICH IS BY THE SEASHORE.”
Abraham, one of the best men of God in our history, a man who as the Scripture says, “obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going.”
Abraham by faith, not knowing where God wanted him to go. Left everything he knew, only took his wife and what he owned and that spoiled ungrateful brat Lot, Abrahams nephew.
They had faith that God would fulfill His promise of giving Abraham and Sarah a son, even after they did mess up and Abraham had a son with Hagar named Ishmael. God still fulfilled His promise, but it was at the ages of 90+ years old that Abraham and Sarah had Isaac.
The bottom line in is that every person here has different stories, different experiences with God but they all had faith in God, they never quite because life got difficult. They all wanted to please God because they had faith in Him.
We here all have different lives we live, different experiences with God that nobody can say are not true so if anybody would like to share, my question is
by faith in the Lord how has God worked in your life? And how has your faith in God grown from that experience?
Share story about having to have faith in the Lord for going in to have neck surgery.
You know, one thing about sharing how God worked in your life is that it is a testimony that you can use to evangelize. It’s a tool you can use if you feel like you don’t know enough about the Bible, about God and you feel your inadequate to share the Gospel, sharing how God has worked in your life is still a good way to witness to people.
So, to end this week, How do we define Faith?
Faith is defined as the unshakeable confidence in the reality of the yet unseen world and the certainty of God’s yet unfulfilled promises.
So, as we go into the month of March, we are having a special guest come and essentially stand up here or sit here and answer questions. This is for everyone who comes to Phase II.
So your homework for the next two weeks I want everyone to write down one question that you have or something that you’re not clear on pertaining to God, other religions, the bible, the characteristics of God, any question that you can think of that has to do with God or a god, how a Christian should react to the world today, it can be anything that has to do with in the realm of theology. I’ll give you a few good questions you might want to consider.
One good question I will throw out there is this, how can there be one God that has three persons?
Or, if God knows everything that we are going to do then how do we have free will?
Or, another one could be easily if God is so good then why does he allow evil to happen?
we as Christians live in a reality that is opposite to the glamor that Hollywood portrays, what the craziness far left portrays as truth. We as Christians live in a reality where the word truth has meaning. Where the word truth is not like a million table tennis balls getting thrown in the air at once and everyone is told to catch one of them for themselves. We live in a world where being a Christian is not easy. Where telling the truth is not easy. Where going against the grain of the world is like trying to split an arrow straight down the middle with another arrow seems darn near impossible. where the past is so scary that I know I’d be damned if I repeat it so we fight like hell to make the present more Christ like, so the future is less and less like the past we are dead to. We live in a reality where the foundation of following Islam means death to Christians and Jews not peace for all nations. We live in a reality where being a soldier for the Lord is the most difficult way to live.
We live in a world where following the way, truth, Nd the life is darn near brutal to the flesh I relate to but Following that path is also the most rewarding, the most coveted possession in the entire world, where everyone is searching for the same thing that we as Christians have. We have faith, we have faith that what we live for, breath for, fight and die for in the name Jesus Christ. We soldier up to go into combat and save those who are still in the darkness. Every day, we battle a spiritual warfare that wants to drag us down, beat us till we are weak on our knees and want to submit to the endless pit of nothingness. We do bend at times, but we do not break. Our faith keeps us strong in the days where there seems like there is no end in sight. And keeps us up when our days are bright. As we go out tonight and leave this study, I pray God, you will use us and help strengthen our faith in Him in order to fight back and be the warriors we are meant to be. So, put on your armor for the Lord, raise your swords that were finely sharpened by the Words of the almighty and get ready for a spiritual battle the next two weeks. Amen
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