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Concept of Faith, Part 1

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD
The Truth Network Radio
September 7, 2021 8:00 am

Concept of Faith, Part 1

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD

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September 7, 2021 8:00 am

When the road gets tough, it helps to hear about people who went before us and made the trip successfully. That’s why in this lesson, Dr. Tony Evans will start a new series packed with stories of faith heroes who ran the race of life and won, no matter how many times they fell down along the way.

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Faith is not a concept you visit.

It's a lifestyle you possess. Dr. Tony Evans explains why faith has to be more than just a way of thinking. Because if I'm not rolling by faith, then I'm not experiencing God in my circumstances.

Because that's how the righteous roll. They live by faith. Celebrating 40 years of faithfulness, this is The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans. Author, speaker, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and president of The Urban Alternative. When the road gets tough, it helps to know how others have successfully navigated the trip. Well, today Dr. Evans tells us stories of people who've gone before us on their faith journey as he takes us to Hebrews chapter 11.

Let's join him. There are many people today who are living with a sense of hopelessness. A sense that it's not working. It's not worth it. It's not fair. I quit. I give in. I throw in the towel. I can't take it anymore. A sense of profound despair.

That was true of the folks that the author of Hebrews was writing. They were on the verge of quitting. Quitting the faith. Going back to the world. They didn't think this Christian thing was worth it. I've got unanswered prayers. I've got unfulfilled dreams. Things in my life that I thought God was going to take care of and has not yet been addressed.

So I'm ready to throw in the towel. That leads him to discuss an awesome concept in a profound chapter. What leads him to discuss this concept is summarized in chapter 10. In chapter 10 of Hebrews verse 35 he says, Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need for endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what is promised. For yet in a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him. But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul. He says, I am writing you so that you don't throw in the towel for endurance. Then he throws the zinger, for the righteous shall live by faith.

Okay, watch this. Whatever faith is, we're going to talk about it in a moment, is supposed to be a lifestyle, not an event. The righteous shall live by faith. In other words, whatever faith is, is how you should roll.

It should be how you flow. It should be your normal modus operandi of life. Faith is not a concept you visit. It's a lifestyle you possess. Because the righteous shall live by faith. So, if you're not living by faith, it's because you're not yet righteous. Because that's how the righteous live. And the righteous who learn to live by whatever faith is, get to experience God in action.

That's what he says. You get to experience God fulfilling His Word. So you've got to ask the question, am I living by faith? Because if I'm not rolling by faith, then I'm not experiencing God in my circumstances. Because that's how the righteous roll. They live by faith.

But that raises a question. What is faith, and how does it work? Verse 1, Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

Read that again. Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. In order for faith to be faith, as God defines faith, it must have substance. Faith involves things.

It involves stuff. Faith is not a willy-nilly, amorphous concept in the never-never land. It is being sure of stuff, of the things which are hoped for, and it has evidence of things you have not yet seen. He summarizes that concept in the word hope. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen. Faith deals with things that are real that have not yet penetrated your five senses, because you haven't seen it yet. Hope is an expectation about the future. Hope is an expectation of which you are convinced of or convicted about. In other words, you are confident of this thing even though the thing hasn't occurred yet. Faith then must have substance.

It must have some stuff that you can rely on. Now, what this means is faith is only as meaningful as the substance to which it is attached. If you've got faith in bad substance, then your faith will be insufficient no matter how much of it you possess, because the substance you're placing it in isn't much.

Or maybe not real at all. Faith has to do with an expectation in a hope that must involve a substance. So the amount of your faith is not tied to how much faith you have.

It's tied to how much substance you possess. A little faith in significant substance produces great results. A lot of faith in insufficient substance will produce no results, because what makes faith faith is the substance to which it is attached. Faith is the assurance of the things the substance hoped for, and it is the evidence of something that your eyes have not yet laid eyes on, but that you know is real. If you want to grow your faith, don't go faith growth hunting.

Get a better substance. The shorter the substance, the more solid the faith. Now if you remember me telling you some years ago I was to fly to Iowa to speak, and they couldn't get me there by the airlines, so they sent a twin-engine plane down to Redbird Airport then, now Executive Airport, to fly me in this twin-engine plane to Iowa. Originally, Sister Evans was supposed to go. Until she discovered they were going to pick me up in a twin-engine plane. She said, you are going by yourself. I said, you don't have faith. She said, that's because you don't have much plane.

The schedule got changed around, and we wind up being able to fly Delta. She said, I'm going. I said, your faith grew.

She said, that's because your plane grew. So the size of her faith was directly related to the size of the plane. Because faith is related to the substance of which it is attached. There are some people in your life who you do not believe.

If they tell you something, you're not going to do much with it, because the substance that it came from is not worth your confidence. There are other people in your life, you'll do whatever they say, because the person that it is coming from is worthy for you to believe what they said. So to understand faith, you have to look at the substance of things hoped for, that is, what the object is, and the evidence of things not seen. So let me clarify something then, about what faith is not. Faith is not how you feel. Faith is not, let me put in a word, necessarily how you feel. You can feel faith less, but be full of faith. You can feel full of faith and have no faith. Because faith is not, first and foremost, an emotion. Emotions do not have intellect. Emotions don't think, that's what emotions are, it's how you feel. And feelings shift based on the information received. If you came in here depressed because of your bills, and I wrote you a legitimate check for $100,000, how you feel will immediately change.

So now you can go back to how you were feeling when you first walked in here. But how you feel will change because of the information you received. See, the content will affect your feelings. If you go to a scary movie with a monster in it, and with all the technology today, they can make stuff seem so real, you might cover your eyes or screech or go, ah! You might react to something you know is not real.

You know the monster's not real, you know it's not coming through the screen, you know that nothing's going to bite you when you go home. You might get home and put the covers over your head about something that's not even real, but you treat it like it's real, even though the substance is not real, because the emotions have become the dictator. Emotions are real, but they're the caboose, not the engine. They're at the back of the train, not the front of the train. They're like cargo in the back of a truck that keeps shifting. You do not let shifting cargo guide the truck.

You let the steering wheel guide the truck, and even though they're shifting in the cargo, the cargo doesn't say where the truck is going. But faith is only as good as where you invest it, and Dr. Evans will be back to talk about that as he continues this message, the first in his current series, Heroes of the Faith. And we're excited to let you know that Tony has written a brand-new book, Kingdom Heroes, that goes hand in hand with the material he's covering today. Together, Heroes of the Faith and Kingdom Heroes focus on two very powerful words, by faith. You'll discover how otherwise ordinary people like you and me became the best-known characters in the Bible just by acting as if God was telling the truth. What does it take to live a life of faith today, where we live? What do we say to a culture that insists that seeing is believing?

How can we learn to trust when our fears and feelings tell us not to? Find the answers by asking for a copy of Tony's two-volume, 13-message audio collection on CD and digital download, and his brand-new book, Heroes of the Faith. For a limited time, we've got a special offer for you when you request the audio series and the book. We'll also include a companion Bible study and helpful workbook to maximize your understanding and application of this material. This entire three-resource package is our gift to you in appreciation for your generous contribution to help Tony's ministry reach out with the love and truth of the Gospel. Just visit us today at or call us at 1-800-800-3222. Make your contribution and let us send you the Heroes of the Faith and Kingdom Heroes book and study package as our thank you gift. Again, that's or call us day or night at 1-800-800-3222. Dr. Evans will be back with more of today's lesson right after this.

Coming to theaters this November. We're at the Church of the Nativity here in Bethlehem where it is believed that the birth of Jesus Christ occurred. Travel with Dr. Tony Evans as he retraces the life and human journey of the greatest being to ever walk this earth. Well, we're here in Capernaum, a place where Jesus did most of His miracles. And it is in this place that He demonstrated He truly is the Son of God. You'll travel the streets, fields, and synagogues where Jesus walked and visit the locations where some of the most powerful events recorded in the Bible took place. It is highly likely that much of what we read about Jesus' ministry in Galilee happened right here. Journey with Jesus in theaters November 15th, 16th, and 17th with Dr. Tony Evans.

Visit for locations, showtimes, and to learn more. Faith is tied to substance that is not yet seen or experienced with the five senses, but that you are convinced is real based on the integrity of the subject who is calling for the faith. Who is the subject calling for the faith?

It's God. Faith is not one of the things you need. It is the key thing you need if you want to experience God. Because without it, it says you are displeasing to God. So if you're not living by faith, you're not pleasing God.

If you're not pleasing Him, you're displeasing Him. Why is God getting all upset about whether I have faith or not? Because when you don't exercise faith, you are challenging God's integrity. Every time we leave faith, we say, God, you don't know what you're talking about.

You are in error. In fact, you are a downright liar. Now, while nobody here would come out and just verbally say, God, you are a bold-faced liar, when God says something and you don't operate on it by faith, He said, you just called me. You challenged my integrity. Now, how do you feel when you know you told the truth and somebody tells you, you lying? That means they displeased you because they have insulted your integrity. We have Christians who live a lifestyle of insulting God's integrity because they don't live by faith. Every day they get up, they go, God, you're a liar.

You're a liar in the morning, you're a liar at noontime, you're a liar when the sun goes down, you're a liar all day long. Why? Because I choose not to live by faith because I don't believe that you are a person of integrity.

Therefore, I'm going to take care of this mama myself. Without faith, you have challenged the integrity of God. Now you know why faith is a big deal and why God says without it, you do not please me.

You displease me because you challenge my integrity. If you want to make concrete, you go get a bag of cement. You mix the bag of cement with water, then you pour it in, it settles and becomes concrete. For many of us, God is not yet concrete. He's not a solid reality in our lives. He's merely a concept in our minds. In other words, for many of us, who God is and what God says is an idea in our mind that has not yet graduated to be concrete in our lives because it hasn't gotten mixed yet. So let me give you or remind you again of the formal definition of faith. Boiling it all down, faith is simply acting like God is telling the truth. Faith is acting like God is not feeling that God is telling the truth. It's not saying that God is telling the truth. Faith is acting like God is telling the truth. That's why the Bible calls it walking by faith and not talking by faith or feeling by faith or even thinking by faith. Unless it has hit your feet, it's not faith. It's intellectual accent to a concept that hasn't gotten mixed with action, therefore nothing concrete has shown up in the life. If you want a concrete manifestation of God, then what you believe about God must be married to what you do in light of that belief.

Now you're exercising faith so that God can now become concrete in your life and not a theory in your head. As I've said before, in the rooms around the sanctuary, we've had to install motion detector lighting because people were leaving lights on, it was costing us too much electricity bills, and so we had to do something. So we installed motion detector lighting. You walk in the room, the light pops on. You walk out of the room, the light goes off so that we're not wasting electricity with folk leaving lights on. You walk in, the light comes on.

You walk out, the light goes off. There's power in the room. There's lighting in the room, but it will not manifest itself until it detects movement. If there is no movement, that doesn't mean there's no power. That doesn't mean there's no light. That means that you haven't given it any motion.

You haven't triggered it. God is real. God has power. God makes promises, but you won't see it until He sees motion.

If there is no motion, it lies dormant, although it's really there. Faith is acting like it is so, even when it's not so, in order that it might be so, simply because God said so. So now that we have this understanding of faith, He makes a statement in verse 1 about what faith is, and then He asks, Are there any witnesses? He reaches back into the Old Testament, and He pulls out witnesses from the Old Testament for us New Testament Christians to know that what worked for them is what you need to work for you. He's got some witnesses. Abel is going to come forth, and he's going to be the first witness. Enoch is going to come forth, and he's going to testify. Noah is going to come forth, and he's going to say a little something-something. Abraham's going to come forth, and he's going to tell you something.

Sarah's going to come forth, and the girlfriend has something she wants to share with you. Rahab's going to tell you a little something-something, because she's going to testify as well. David's going to give a testimony. Joseph's going to give a testimony. The patriarch's going to give a testimony. There's going to be testifying to let you know that verse 1 is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

So help you, God, when you understand faith. In Canton, Ohio, they have the football hall of fame. These are where the football greats, those who exceeded and excelled, their busts are there for them to be remembered. God says, this is my hall of faith. This is my Canton, Ohio, Hebrews chapter 11. These are the men and women who demonstrate that this faith thing works. Dr. Evans will be back in a moment with a final illustration to wrap up today's program. First, a reminder that today's message, the concept of faith, is part of Tony's current series called Heroes of the Faith. Don't forget, for a limited time, we're making this two-volume, 13-message collection on CD and digital download available to you, along with his brand-new book and study guide, Kingdom Heroes.

They're our gift to you when you help us keep Tony's teaching on this station with your kind donation. Just visit to get your copy of this powerful package. And while you're there, take a moment to sign up for Tony's free weekly e-mail devotional. Again, that's, or call us at 1-800-800-3222, and let one of our friendly team members assist you. Our resource center is open 24-7, so call anytime.

Again, that's 1-800-800-3222. Tomorrow, Dr. Evans will offer more encouragement on how to keep our faith strong, even when the problems and pressures of life pile up. Right now, he's back to close with this story. You know, in boxing, when they have the heavyweight champion and champion fight, and they got the two challenges or the two boxes on end, they bring in the heavyweight champions of old and introduce them to the crowd. The people clap, and then the champion will go over and shake one guy's hand, and he'll go shake the other guy's hand.

They wave to the crowd that's applauding him. The reason why they bring the ex-champions back was to let these who are in the battle right now know somebody else has been in this ring before. Somebody else has gotten punched on before. Somebody else has gotten knocked down before. Somebody else has gotten bruised before, but I'm here to testify. Even though it's a fight, and even though it's a battle, you can come out this thing a winner. They're there to let you know you can win in spite of the fight. Some folk came in here today beaten up by life, bruised by circumstances, and defeated by sin, but this story wants to testify to you that even though you've been beat up, and even though you're in a fight, this is a winnable battle because I got some testimonies. I got some witnesses that will testify. This is a battle that can be won. The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans is brought to you by the Urban Alternative. Celebrating 40 years of faithfulness thanks to the generous contributions of listeners like you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-03 08:34:38 / 2023-09-03 08:43:21 / 9

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