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October 2, 2021 1:00 pm
You pick up your Bible and wonder, is there more here than meets the is there something here for me. I mean it's just words printed on paper right it may look like just print on the page but it's more than a join us for the next half hour, as we explore God's word together as we learn how to explore it on our own. As we ask God to meet us there in its pages welcome to more than a lot of crazy ideas out there about what faith is. When you heard absolutely what is the people of C faith is calling for gasoline in the gas tank of their spiritual life and if they have enough or they have the power anything they want to examine fingerlings nascent was final today on more than Dorothy continually in our trick come to probably maybe the most famous section of the brilliance, kind of like walking through portrait Gallery. Anytime anytime someone talks about faith. Faith always go here, come to Hebrews 11 and that's where we are today. But before we jump into it because many times people jump into Hebrews 11 to talk about faith without really understanding the context of the previous chapters. Yeah, the question is why is he talking about faith and what is it apply to why's it so pivotal is not just a religious word. It's something that's critical in the plan of God to what.
So what's our context context comes most directly from from the end of chapter 10, where Millie had set all the way through chapter 10 we have confidence to enter the holy place through the blood of Christ right that something we can't see in here and now we have confidence in it. The unseen hold fast the confession of your help, because he who promised is faithful and he also said right at the end of chapter 10 in verse 35 for you have need of endurance that when you've done the will of God. You may receive what was promised and then he quotes Habakkuk for yet a little while in the coming one will come and will not delay my righteous one will live life faith yes so and that's kind of what he has laid down and is now faith is so where were going, what is it mean to live by faith yeah and you know the biggest picture of Hebrews sees talking about the fact that God God wants great life for us in his life with him. Use the use the metaphor of rest, like with the nation visually are going to Israel but the wooden going because he believed God could do what he said he was going to do, so there really is this intention on God's part. This promise that P word that God promises life to us and yet the prerequisite is faith.
From the very beginning from the very upstairs, as were going to see my first character that the writer of Hebrews brings up is able write my shows up in fourth chapter of Genesis that we go way back to the beginning just a new covenant. I do know all the time.
Always covenant idea from the nation of Israel, always back beginning and up till now, the issue is, if you want to participate in God's great intentions for life for you will then faith is the pivotal issue you have to believe what he says is true. So I think it's important for us to figure out what the writer of Hebrews talking about.
If you want to participate in the life of God in his presence. You got a nail faith done yet understand because faith is not just a feeling. No right faith is a gift of God to us, and the means by which we access the reality of promises, but it is something that we have to exercise in accordance with truth and there's a lot of told a lot of misconception about faith. I mean, you talk to anybody and it'll go all the way from a spiritual fairy dust to some kind of magical powers to gasoline. My spiritual gas tank. I'm in so misunderstood and how often do we hear that phrase off I have faith as a mustard seed, I can write anything well is what really does that right and many people look at faith as being a power faith is not a power. So what is it Hebrews 11 if it's so critical for so central to everything more than what in the world is faith you.
It's interesting that were doing this this week because I just finished a discussion with the women that I lead in Bible study and part this week about in this very chapter about what is faith and they were challenged after we had studied this very passage were to be talking about the next few minutes to create, to write in their own words. A personal definition of faith wasn't excellent exercise I and so I'm hoping at the end of this week and next week is going to two weeks to cover the faith chapter. I'm hoping that you have a very simple way to communicate with faith as you grab it, it's not complicated. It's easily misunderstood. It's critical to everything, but I think you can come up with a good hip pocket definition yourself which would be really straightforward will okay central because we need to get in the past. I'm just hoping people are intrigued enough to say.
I'm not sure I know what Hebrews is talking about with faith in my journal is important to know. So let's find Hebrews 11 yeah disagreed to finish okay and again were reading Hebrews 11 from the ESV write the English standard version now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen for by the men of old receive their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God said that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible when you are going. On top yeah. That's his definition. It wasn't yet any classic ancient style. He gives us his conclusion.
First, rather than the end slices like this is a member when John's Gospel gave us a conclusion about who Jesus was, at the very top and then use the rest of the book. Yeah, this is what he does here. Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen sound kind of big words, assurance and conviction are likely why we as words, but we sometimes don't really understand what they mean.
Right right here assured of something you are confident that it's real yet something that's not in your handbook will be is going to happen and it gives you that you have a peace about it because you're sure of it right right and what are we sure of here.
What were sure of the things that we have been told to hope for what is our hope. Yeah. So indeed, this seems to be in the realm of kind of the unseen, both in time and unseen, both in dimensions of existence like spiritual stuff is invisible.
So if you want to have some kind of sense and reliable conviction about something that you can't see or touch because it either in the spiritual ports in the future which you can't touch faith is your key faith is your link to that thing to give you conviction about that which seems kind of kind of non-real well. This faith is the assurance of things we hope for right so that I settled confidence of something that we hope and conviction that it's the things that we can see are more real and more concrete things that we can see right right so for me the entry level beginning understanding.
I always use the metaphor of you know if you see asked a neighborhood kid to watch your house while you go on vacation you know what you would ask yourself while you're on vacation. Joan please take care my house when he's feeding the cat.
One of he's doing all these things. I'm hoping things that I'm hoping for. Well I I will have the conviction that he's probably doing those things.
Based on my track record of my understandings character his character.
I can actually have some assurance some conviction that what I can't see and can't actively control. I can't be there.
It's happening and I have read so so when you start with that simple understanding, we say that all the times I have faith in this kit will do fine. So you do something about the fact that we have conviction of something that we can't directly see it's in the future decide its premise based on the character of the person we now have personal even trusted that she is exactly and in this particular case in Hebrews. He's really relating faith, as it connects us to God's promise.
So for instance if the kids they'll take care of the cat. I have faith because I know is if God promises us a Sabbath rest. The rest of them in good life. Are you willing to say. I put my trust in that, based on my understanding God's character in the same way. So, this linkage starts to build and concise is that that's the operable thing. So in verse three, he says, by faith. You know this conviction, we understand. Universe was created by the word of God.
We weren't there, but we can have. We can have a conviction that indeed is what happened.
Faith in the universe was made out of things that are not visible right right and that's right strikes at the very heart of the beginning of Scripture, right, and God said, and it was that's powerful word of God that speaks in reality happens right. That's the happens in our understanding of that happens in the realm of faith because we can't see we were there, see, but but we know that God spoke in reality came into being and is still true. That's exactly right.
And so, yet she takes us back to the beginning of creation right.
We were there we couldn't see it. And then, even with the promises of God. He's taking us metaphorically into the end of creation. This promise do we have faith that God will bring us to the place he's promised through Abraham that were participating in if you can bring everything into existence out of nothing, he can certainly keep his promise to us exactly exactly so so the from this point on he he launches us into you like. If you know if you don't get what you just said the first three verses what you want to continue to amplify all amplified some but the best way to do that is illustrations. Let's use some some people from the Old Testament who were excellent examples of people who exercise faith as they look forward to the fulfillment of God's promises from well before we get into the actual list. It's interesting that in this section we have in front of us today. These first four characters are very very early in the history of humankind.as I said before Abel shows up in the fourth chapter of Genesis. Table was adamant each son right one of several partially which it is not an accident at the first place equal to our faith is activism. The creation itself, and then the next people to show up in the my are these people so see starting from the very beginning like the super beginning so it's interesting to me that he skips over at many, but that's a conversation for another day.
Becky says at the end of chapter 11 so I could talk a lot kind of talked about a lot of people let Sue talks about so. I'll start his hands for so here come the examples, illustrations of her still fuzzy but what is talking about. So by faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous God commanding them by accepting gifts and through his faith, though he died, he still speaks so we just up with people you know know Cain and Abel do with the sacrifices and God didn't like Cain sacrifice that he brought but he did like cables on people trying draw too much inclusion. Well, you know, one guy brought his you know is bell peppers. The other guy brought his lamb and them so maybe it's meat versus vegetable that's not all it's the heart of the two. Yet, it is helpful to go back to Genesis 4. At this point reason. So let me encourage you with every one of these characters that the writer mentions. Remember he's writing to a Jewish audience and they knew they used or not.
We have to be reminded so you know we able go to the first part of Genesis 4 and read what was the offering and what was the issue. Yet God says exactly. So he's he's he's counting on the fact that you know the story.
If you don't go back.
That's Genesis for then he goes on in Genesis 5 to Enoch to rehearse five by faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found because got it taken while well what about 20 seconds through four verse it's very short shift. What do you want hogwash with God. He walked with God. He walked with God and so he didn't die. God took him a message. What is it mean to walk with God and what is it say about faith because faith again. Remember, it's kind rather it's kind of our mechanism in the way is a poor way to say but arm hurts our connection to the unseen well God's unseen and Enoch still had a relationship with God, who is unseen and what was the connection.
It was his faith and interestingly the next character list is know I will will read that second but but Genesis says the same thing about know you were talking about men that were like in the sixth and ninth generation from Adam and Eve so very, very early in human history. Walking with God as opposed to walking with direction the rest of mankind was going so is little concluding statement. Even after those two guys in verse six without faith it's impossible to complete. To please God, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him so there's there's two competent expectations right there that God actually does exist and that in pursuing the nearness of God. He rewards pursuing those tickets right back into verse one right to believe that God exists means I I am assured I am convicted that there are things that are unseen in that they are real and that I am sure that there is a hope in this uncertain reality because God keeps his promises. So it's it's perfect for that's the kind of faith there operating in an unseen well but does right yeah and speaking UNC rooms you got know what you pick up anything now being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen is reverent fear constructed in Mark for the saving of his household. By this he can down the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. That fascinating proposal is not what he condemned the world, what if you go back and read in Genesis 6 God's assessment of the condition of the world. He says I I have already condemned them.
I'm just going to start over. And so now in place when the writer says.
Noah condemned the world what he needs is no aligned his own assessment of the world with God's and Godhead had said to know us is taken these people out right and Noah said, I believe it is faith right there.
What these people did because it's a tremendous variety of stuff all coming from the fact that they believe that what God said was true right enabling and offering Enoch simply walked with God. No built an ark. Yeah, yeah.
So if you're struggling to come up with a handy definition of faith. It has a lot to do with belief. Are you willing to embrace something about God.
Something about the unseen. Are you willing to embrace that and trust that and act on that. So those are all aspects of faith as well.
Not just embracing effect, but actually changing your behavior as a result I said has a lot to do with believing states it is essential well yes centers and it is back in the in the New Testament when you look at the Greek word for faith in the Greek word for leave there almost interchangeable and and I've told people before the because of that the faith really is. I sometimes like I sucked. I substitute the word persuasion like I am persuaded that so I will right now, so faith is very much about being persuaded by the fact and then acting on after that so it's very much a cognitive kind of thing I choose to believe, and thence go for effective makes me think took to my favorite people in the New Testament that Jesus commended for their faith. Both non-Hebrews. One was a centurion and who came to Jesus and well you know you're in charge of the universe so you can heal my servant in charge of the universe. How do you know that how you have that kind of conviction.
So Jesus prays him as having him tell it like this anywhere in Israel, and it was just him embracing the truth of who Jesus was, well, since you said they were non-Hebrews, they were not choose well and neither were any of these people listed right here in this passage. That's right right able, and know all existed before there ever was a people is Abraham himself was not it you now that sometimes a puzzler to Christians who are not who haven't read the Old Testament you really haven't put that together. God initiated the beginning of this people, the Jews with Abraham, but it was much later.
And if this thing will come out a lot here preexists the Jewish idea of faith, except for there was any law before that was in the temple before there was any religious Jewish system. There was the essential faith based preexists all of that right goes back to the very beginning, but I what I want to focus on his last come about, know at the end of verse seven he says he became an heir of the righteousness that comes by and then starts to trigger thought about Abraham. Abraham rightly said, and was counted to him as righteousness, and etc. look at Abraham as an example of that kind of faith where he embraced an unseen truth of who God is and he embraced the unseen and unfulfilled promise of God. So this is how he interacts in this invisible realm.
Faith is what does is that should raise that question in your mind what kind of faith does God recognize righteousness.
If, as Genesis tells us later. Abraham believed God. God record it as righteous is that because because many times we look at the word righteousness. We think will that's perfect like you do anything wrong.
I do everything right and back your perfect or sinless and stuff like that.
Here he saying that righteousness might be might be connected more to whether or not you take God at his word and act and respond yes that might be more key than almost anything else, and in the humic that case we go on here because that's exactly what if that's how it worked for Abraham and if your child a good of Abraham. That's all take for you as well. So this move forward because he does go to to Abraham in verse eight okay verse eight by faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive his inheritance. Knowing where he was going by faith he went to live in the land of promise as in a foreign land living in tents with Isaac and Jacob. Heirs with him of the same promise, for he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God by faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age since she considered him faithful who had promised. Therefore, from one man and him as good as dead, were born descendents as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the grains of sand on the seashore. So Abraham's wife Sarah. They are both embracing an unseen truth and that for them.
That thing that makes him do that is faith.
That's what empowers us to do that, indeed, a truth that's that is not at all based on their physical condition. Yeah exactly has it right. It really drives assumptions that you know Abraham was as good as dead, that you were not going to be able to produce a child, and even no relocating to the land of promise. You know they went there and he lived in tents.
They didn't find my city didn't find any kind of great thing in that sense, they lived in tents, but they were but this is what's key about verse 10 is looking forward to a city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.
God said there will be a place you go metaphorically, a city that I have designed.
I have put together a place of great living. It'll be there, but he goes there and he doesn't find that he lives in tents, so he actually continues to live. Looking forward right is completion of that price. Which he didn't really get to. Although he went to the land. While this comes very close to this whole idea of faith being the ability to live with that unseen reality clearly in view even in spite of our circumstances and from living in the tent right exactly and in that came that also place when God said you baby and she she laughs. She says you're right that's going to happen. These things merit much more discussion.
If I recall right, Isaac was born when Abraham was 100 so, but God promises that this promise would fulfill itself through his offspring right and there's some barriers that are looking around online, what offspring would add back to Abram a little bit next week, but let's finish 13 to the end is running short on time is a great summary statement. It is these all these four guys that he has listed so far died in faith, and having received the things promised, but having seen and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth for people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking homeland if they been thinking of the land from which they got out they would had opportunity to return.
But as it is, they desire, better country. I heavenly one.
Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. Yes, so the promise of God is actually a society culture place like a city in anything but ancient times in the low places like the wild West. In America there was no nothing great in the wild West. But when it came to a city. There was order there is life there was peace there was. The city is a wonderful place to live in ancient times. Well, God's promise of rest for us is the promise metaphorically of the city. A great place to live for God himself will be the one who designs it and establishes it and welcomes us into and rains.
Anyway, he's the king right that city yeah and so and what's key to us. Looking forward to having her eyesight set forward in faith is to realize that the here and now he's is like in the end of verse 13 were strangers and exiles. This is not the end right you know and like I'm prone to quote Corrie 10 boom all the time. You know, this is the best of the best is yet to be, the end is so important because this is in view. How does faith affect how I see myself in relation to the world like right now because the writer says they clearly regarded themselves as aliens and sojourners in this world is not my home. I was just passing through his passing through on my way to a better place and what informed you the fact that there's a better place coming.
God does any did you faith to embrace that you embrace the promise you say you know even though living in a tent right now my circumstances are not what I was hoping for hearing people say I did sign up for this. What you because the God's promise of this place to live in great life with him is still to come, but we believe that promise based on his track record yet fact that he has always done what he said he would do. And that's exactly right. So even as the writer of Hebrews back in chapter 4 said you may be living in the promised land, but there still remains a set rest for the people. This is not it's not really fulfill. This is kind of like a shadow of fulfillment so so here you know two things these guys in verse 13. Realize that their time now is temporary there strangers and exiles and that's not going to change were just passing through this place and you could go back to your old life. If you wanted to, but instead you say no push forward and put my trust in the promises of God. Other place that invested here that's really vested in the other place. God is faithful to his promise.
Do you believe that and we act on because there is a better country. There's a better country coming and it's a heavenly one. He says in 16 so far is your trust placed in that is your faith and for me that that's something you want, embrace and push towards or are you going to build a house here and hope for the best and he said no, no, in fact, if you put your trust in God he is not as he God is not ashamed to be called their God because they put their trust in them is for them city and that still sounds to me like what Jesus said I I'm going to prepare a place for you to come back and take it to myself that's the reward that he will take us to be with him live with him yeah and the previous chapters in Hebrews says you know you're qualified to be there, not because your anything hot because Jesus died and took care of the sins that would've kept you out of Betsy get a handle on that by believing it so so. By faith we believe is the price for us by faith we put our hope and expectation in the coming of the city were God to the center of it. Faith is the thing that says wait.
We are like when you pick up the other half of the story of his examples in verse 11, and talk a little more in depth about what faith made a good start, but will come back and look at some more examples and be able to understand what's going on so I'm Jim Dorothy.
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