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The Substance of Faith

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
September 7, 2022 4:00 am

The Substance of Faith

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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September 7, 2022 4:00 am

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We talk about faith were talking about trusting in what God has said, not trusting that you can create something as yet unsaid a future unwritten unspoken, unrevealed, but rather to believe in that promise, which is laid out in all its glory and all its detail that has been given to every true, how would you respond, it can be a greater challenge to answer that question, then you might think for some practical help stay here as John looks at Hebrews chapter 11 in his ongoing study called the New Testament.

Beginning to end before you continue this series John.

I know these landmark sermons have caused all of us here at Grace to you to reflect on many years of Bible teaching and also to express our appreciation for the people who have partnered with us who made this ministry possible. Of course, apart from two very special groups of people. There is no grace to you. One is those who support this ministry week after week, month after month. We hear from listeners. You folks have benefited spiritually and you express your thanks by supporting us financially. Apart from that we don't exist we we depend on that support to say were grateful for. It is a serious understatement. It is our lifeblood. It's oxygen.

It's the blood that flows through this ministry that gives it life that also I need to say there wouldn't be any ministry.

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Thank you to all of you radio stations, and folks who serve those stations and thank you for your listeners who stand with us unleashing God's truth one verse at a time.

That's right, friend. For more information on how you can support Grace to you and help equip believers around the world with biblical truth. Visit our website Jide TY.org I'll repeat those details before we close today, but for now, if you have a Bible turn to Hebrews 11 as John MacArthur works his way through the New Testament beginning to end. I want to turn your Bible to Hebrews chapter 11 and so we talk about salvation. We talk about the gospel are always talking about faith and that raises the question, what is faith what is the essence of faith. How are we to understand faith and that's why we want to look at this chapter. This chapter has been called the Hall of Fame. It has been called the heroes of the faith. It is been called the honor roll of Old Testament saints, the Westminster Abbey of Scripture is been called to the faith chapter and perhaps other things as well. What it presents to us is the power of faith and power of faith. The excellency of faith we talk about faith. We're talking about trusting in what God has said, not trusting that you can create something as yet unsaid a future unwritten unspoken, unrevealed, but rather to believe in that promise, which is laid out in Scripture, in all its glory and all its detail that has been given to every true believer. All we can start where the chapter starts with the first by faith Abel wouldn't say that if Abel had a choice to write his future. He would've written that he would be murdered by his brother. Now these are these are people who have died. These are people who struggled these are people whose lives were marked with horrendous suffering and crescendo store the end of the chapter. So from the human perspective if they somehow had the power to write their own future.

They perhaps would've written it differently than God wrote it, the kind of faith were talking about the faith that God gives a believer is the faith to trust the future that God has written because inherent in what God has written for us is his promise of ultimate blessing and eternal joy the message of the first 10 chapters is put your faith in Jesus Christ. He is in every sense superior.

This reinforces for the believers are receiving this letter, the superiority of Christ, to which they have already asserted their will by the power of God. They already know that they have trusted in that reality.

But at periodic points through the opening 10 chapters familiar to anyone who studies the book of Hebrews there are warnings there at least four of them. By the time you get to this chapter in this chapter constitutes if you will. Another warning, these warnings are given to non-Christian Jews who are attending this fellowship there, sitting on the fringe.

If you will. There apparently intellectually convinced of the gospel. They they understand the. The truth of the gospel in their minds they understand the power of the proof of that truth by the miracles and signs and wonders which were wrought by Christ so we could say there intellectually convinced they are hanging on the fringes of this fellowship of Christian Jews, but they never really have come all the way to Christ and there are these periodic warnings not to fall back not to go back into Judaism. There's one end of one of them in chapter 2, there are more in chapter 3 and four another in chapter 6, another in chapter 10. Don't go on sinning willfully after you have the knowledge of the truth, says chapter 10 are you will bring upon yourself a far more severe eternal judgment. So the warning is come all the way to the new covenant come all the way to Christ, all the way to faith is a big change.

Big change because we know that the Judaism that existed in the time of our Lord and thus in the time of the New Testament was a system of salvation by what I works by merit. The Jew attempted to earn salvation was necessary then to teach these people the reality of salvation by faith.

They had a lot of other things that they could look at in terms of New Testament literature to be taught that Jesus said that salvation was by faith. That was clear and not by works. The apostle Paul made it abundantly clear Asians 289 for by grace are you saved through faith. Romans Chapter 3 Chapter 4 in all the way through, indicates that salvation comes by faith alone. Scripture is replete with that emphasis.

But the Jews are having a hard time being. D.

Program reported that what having a hard time being the program so you have to show them something other than the New Testament, they would like to be able to accept this reality of salvation by faith rather than what by works coming from Christ coming from the apostles coming from Paul coming from the New Testament writers, but isn't it possible that there could be some other illustrations of salvation by faith from the Old Testament. This might get them across that barrier that seems to be so formidable for them and that is why the 11th chapter of Hebrews is written, it is written because it is a necessity to prove to the Jews who are intellectually convinced that Jesus is the Messiah that salvation is by faith, and that people not only after Jesus, but even before Jesus were saved by a by faith.

The house going to get this case across how is he going to penetrate their sort of Old Testament thinking the answer in chapter 11, by giving us a list of Old Testament saints whose lives were marked by faith. The true people of God through all the ages have become the true people of God by faith. Chapter 11 is loaded with illustrations just looking at verse four by faith Abel at verse five. By faith Ina at verse seven by faith Noah, verse eight by faith Abraham, and again in verse 17 by faith Abraham in verse 20. By faith Isaac in verse 21 by faith Jacob verse 22. By faith Joseph, 23 by faith Moses and again in verse 24 going down.

Further, verse 31 by faith Rahab and then in verse 32. There's Gideon Barrick, Samson Jeff and David Samuel the prophet's who by faith did all these amazing things. Verse 39 sums it up all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised because God had provided something better for us apart from us, they would not be made perfect.

They didn't receive what was promised. They trusted that it would come as it had been promised and that's exactly what I said is the definition of faith you want to work with faith is confident trust in the future. God has promised. Faith is not some kind of power by which you create your future, is the power of God given you to trust in the promises God has made in Scripture.

These people hadn't received the promise and they trusted in the promise and thus they live by faith. So the first thing we learn about faith is that it is trusting in what is invisible is trusting and what isn't received is trusting and what isn't experienced. It is trusting in something not yet manifest faith belief that the noun the Greek word pestis is a noun, it means belief, trust, confidence, faith. I love the fact that he uses a noun because it emphasizes the settled reality of this is a commodity that is possessed. Certainly, believing can be a verb, but were talking here, not about some act of faith but were talking about the reality of a settled faith. It exists as a commodity. It is a gift of God. Asians 28 says not of works, that comes from God. When God gives this commodity of faith. It is the assurance of things hoped for. That's what it means to live by faith. It it doesn't mean that we see something we want and bring it into existence.

It means that we put our confidence in something not seen convictions of things not seen some of your translations will say, faith is the substance of things not seen. That's a great translation. I love that translation faith is the substance of things not seen. Substance is a word that has substance does not. It does it. It's a word that you can take to the bank.

It's a word that you can sort of cash in on its word that basically can be legitimately translated substance, essence that gives it reality.

Faith is substantial confidence in the reality of something not realized. Faith gives present substance to something that is future is this chapter will show us when it unfolds in Old Testament times, there were well all the saints men and women who had nothing but the promises of God. Nothing but the promises of God to rest on nothing but the promises of God to hope for. No visible evidence that messianic promise would come true no visible evidence, the kingdom promise would come true yet. The promises were so real and the revelation of those promises in Scripture so reliable that people build their entire hope on them all the Old Testament promises related to the future.

That's what it says at the end. At the end of the chapter. Those people who exercise this faith. Exercise faith in what was promised that they did not receive over that be eternal life in heaven.

Everlasting bliss reward joy reunion which is promised in the Old Testament of the saints in the presence of God, the very presence of God. The very likeness of God, I will. David says I look for the day when I will awaken die likeness glories of eternal bliss and see any of it here.

They never even saw the ultimate sacrifice that they never knew the Messiah was they were people of faith, but their faith was anchored in a reliable revelation from a God who cannot lie, and so there faith gave substance to the future hope I were on the side of the cross with folks we understand this knowing none of you has seen heaven and you don't know anyone is been there and back. Except the Lord himself and yet you have basically put your entire eternal destiny on the foundation on the fact that the Scripture is reliable and what God is promised you can trust right and what that has done is created substance in the present tense for a future promise, but it has substance.

Now it has weight now. It provides assurance now so that you sing and you pray and you praise and you act and you live and you obey and you minister and you witness because this hoped-for reality gives present weight to your life, substance, and frankly, this is against the grain of all the things that work in a fallen world is not. First of all, it's against the grain of your own flesh. Then a true so now that you believe these things and you put your trust in Christ and are now living a life based upon promises for the future that you haven't seen that have so much weight that they control your life, what you do you live your life as a Christian battling against the flesh, that is your natural expression would be a lot easier to just say forget it on is going to go with whatever I feel would be a lot easier writes we used to live like the godless Gentiles in the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, pride of life, but happen whatever happens, you know, Linda, you restrain the flesh to restrict the flesh you limit the pleasures you fight against your fallenness you resist sin you run from it.

You flee it. Why because you understand that there is a future reward and future desire to come before the Lord and bring honor to his name by the life you live so you literally have brought substance in your life by things that you hope for in the future. Why do you have this kind of hope that so strong that it can change the way you live your life and that you live your life against the grain of your own fallen flesh because you believe in the truth of God's revelation. Why do you believe that because God is giving you the faith to believe in that revealed word and everything you ever study in that word, and all the evidences that come around that word indicate that it in fact is true.

This faith is so powerful it gives such substance to your life that you live against the grain of your own fallenness and you live against the grain of the world of what you are part is real sense in which you live against the grain of your own senses your own senses just can't do what your natural senses tell you to do if left to your own natural senses you'd be out of control in every aspect of your life would you not because those senses are never satisfied. You never have enough of anything because if you see some else you want it right you wanted. This is what it means to have substance in the present. Based upon promises for the future. This is how we live our lives as Christians. This is what it means to live by faith. Faith furnishes the heart with firm support in the revealed promises of God.

Faith believes God.

It believes God as revealed in Scripture, and that faith Scripture says is an anchor here we see it as an anchor laid out in the experience of believers. Real faith gives us a confident substance in the present. But I want to go beyond that it is not just the assurance or the substance or even translated the evidence in the loop costs but it is also the conviction that's the word evidence.

It's the conviction of loop costs of things not seen. This takes it a step further and it is the substance that becomes conviction. Maybe I should've picked that up a little bit earlier because it's conviction that can the basically defines how you live you can know something to be true, but until it becomes a conviction you don't put it really into action. So we have substance that has led to conviction.

What would make you live against the grain of your fallenness.

What would make you live against the grain of the world. What would make you live against the grain of your own senses. What would what would cause you to abandon everything for something you can't see for promises that have never been fulfilled. What would cause you to live this kind of life. A conviction, a conviction and implied in that conviction is a strong, strong commitment. For example, borrowing from the chapter, what would make you build a boat in a desert because you were told it was going to rain. When it never rained in the history of the world. Conviction one would have to be more than just some kind of hope because you would have to spend 120 years building the boat. Can you imagine building a boat as Noah did for hundred 20 years in the desert and dealing with the mockery of his neighbors. Some of you be marked by your neighbors for a few days perhaps is more than you can handle what put his faith into action.

There was such substance to what he had been told he was so confident in the revelation of God to him that it became a conviction that he could literally live his life on. That's what puts faith into action. He acted on it because of revelation came action because of substance came conviction so that's the nature of faith, a word about the testimony of faith, verse two, and here the writer sort of introduces us to what is going to be the emphasis of the chapter 4 by it the men of old gained approval literally some translation think the King James says the elders meeting the Old Testament saints, and this is where he sort of tips his approach here. He's going to help these Jews who maybe are struggling a little bit with this idea of salvation by faith because they've come out of the work system by pointing to the fact that this is in fact how the saints of old gained approval. The approval means praise approbation, why would we identify them as heroes of the faith, why did the Jews identify them as heroes of the faith, why did they look at Abel is nobler than Cain, why did they look at at Enoch as noble, why did they look at Abraham as noble.

Why did they look at Sarah as noble. Why did they look at the others. Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and all the rest because of their faith and that's what is going to show throughout this chapter. This is not a new concept. The great heroes of the faith. The saints of old live by faith Abel believed God regarding sacrifice acted on faith that what God said was true, and what God expected was the path of blessing. He did what God told him because God told him this is what to do and I'll bless you and he did it was, of course, received and approved unit believe God so much so that he didn't die. God was so pleased with him.

The one day took a walk to walk right into the presence of God. Skip the dying part. Noah believe God and because of a God granted him righteousness and God vindicated him brought about what God had promised but spared him and his family.

Abraham and Sarah believed God for a child God fulfilled the promise they trusted what they couldn't see they live their lives based upon promises God made to them and certainly God approved of that and they were rightfully honored by the people of the past and even remained the heroes of the faith God's word made their hope real and based upon what God had told them they lived obediently by faith and are rightly honored as heroes. And then there is finally an illustration of faith. The first one that he gives and he gathers us all into the illustration in verse three 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.

This illustration takes us back in gives us a foundation for faith. Looking forward 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, that looks back at creation. Creation is things seen in the universe made out of things unseen. That's creation. Creation is excellent. Hilo God made the whole universe out of what nothing what is seen was not made out of anything that was visible. So out of the invisible came the visible out of nothing came. Everything we understand that by faith say why why we understand by faith because we weren't there, right, so I can't live by faith. I can't. I can't conduct my life by faith will try this on the world exist, the universe exists by faith we understand that God created by his word now were where we place our faith in the revelation of God written in Genesis chapter 1 and two, which tells us that God created the universe by his word right, let there be light and there was like he spoke everything into existence and the record is in Genesis 1, so we have an opportunity to place our faith in something in the past as a foundation to place our faith in something in the future.

We all live by faith. All of us who are believers, we trust God we trust God as creator of this world and we trust him as the creator of the world to come.

For those who know him and love your listening to Grace to you with pastor and author John MacArthur. Today's lesson is part of a series titled the New Testament beginning to end. It's a collection of landmark sermons from John MacArthur's more than five decades of Bible teaching. Now, as John mentioned before the lesson. This ministry is made possible because of the faithful support of listeners like you. Your donations help keep this broadcast on the air in your area and around the world encouraging believers and strengthening local churches if you'd like to partner with Grace to you visit our website Jide TY.org or give us a call today the toll-free number is 855 Grace. You can also mail your tax-deductible donation to Grace to you.

Box 4000 panorama city, CA 91412 and even if you're unable to give today you can still support this ministry for generations to come. By making Grace to you part of your estate plan for details about legacy giving. Visit our website Jide TY.org or call us at 855 Grace, the number one more time. 805 five and when you go to Jide TY.org.

I would encourage you to listen to all of the messages from our truth matters, conferences, including the most recent conference on recovering the biblical worldview. John ended a number of other Bible teachers gathered at the answers in Genesis conference center and took a hard look at critical race theory. Gender and sexuality in other issues that affect churches today again all of our conference messages are available for free@jidety.org now for John MacArthur on Phil Johnson.

Remember that grace to you. Television airs this Sunday.

Check our website for channel and times and then join us tomorrow for another 30 minutes of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time on racing.

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