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June 15, 2020 1:00 am
Gaining approval here means they received commendation by God and by others, for by this kind of faith. This kind of hoping this kind of seeing the saints of old received commendation. They became worthy of what we now call them heroes what another said they took the first step, even though they couldn't see the holster and the lights were out and it was really steep and some of the steps were slippery. Sometimes they stumble wisdom from the heart Bible teaching ministry of Stephen today we begin a series entitled heroes. It comes from Hebrews chapter 11 where we find a list of Old Testament biblical heroes. These are men and women who have received God's commendation for their lives of faithful service to him. God honors them for diverse acts and ministries, both great and small. The most incredible thing is that Hebrews 11 is full of people. We wouldn't expect to find their. These are people just like us with faults and failures but also people who lived out their faith in God, let's join Stephen for a lesson he's calling the beat of a different drummer. Is it ever occur to you that the first person deeply interested in retelling the lives of men and women throughout history is none other than God. God loves biography that most of the Bible is biographical. It gives us the histories of men and women in Kingston and nations pioneers and and and profits. God evidently is committed to the concept that you and I learned best when truth is brought to life in in flesh and blood and so throughout Scripture the DDE sorta brings truth on the stage for us and we watched them parade across it. He brings us the biographies of people, good and bad, wicked and godly, self-sacrificing and selfish. He brings them all across for a purpose and we learned I've I've started that justice passed a week, a biography of a guy named G. Campbell Morgan now lost to my generation of expositors and I couldn't get past the very first page without being challenged by one of his cryptic statements were.
He said experience is a hard teacher and there are those who never learn.
Maybe it's because we don't read enough biography. Is it any surprise that the listen God through his apostles makes these kinds of statements listen. He says imitate those who through faith and patience inherited what has been promised. You can't imitate someone you don't know.
So let's get a little hope and perseverance with learn how to live and walk by faith. If you open your Bibles if you're not there already to Hebrews 11, you might miss the setting of the chapter and so actually don't quite get the chapter 11 chapter 10 and verse 35 the writer of Hebrews sort of sets the stage for us what God has in mind. So I wanted a circle or underline or highlight that verse when he says whatever you do don't throw away your confidence. I love that verse. In other words, don't throw in the towel matter how bad it gets about how difficult it looks.
Don't give up. Remember the servants of God who walked by faith. Now, if you skip over chapter 11 and you go to chapter 12 right away. He encourages us by saying look now that you discovered you got this great cloud of witnesses, One-A-Day, the biographies of all of these sayings of old run the race don't quit. Don't give up staying. Keep pressing on in the race before you live by faith run by faith and you say okay Lord I got injector tendon and you're telling me to do. In chapter 12. Sign me up but can you show me what that looks like Hebrews 11 is the answer. It's almost a parenthesis between chapters tendon chapter 12 where it's as if God says to all of us.
Okay, sit out a while and he tell you some stories. The real there, but real people.
Let me give you some biographies of people infected or a lot more like using you think ordinary people that they didn't sign up to become heroes and frankly as you inspect their lives that there there are many things about them that are not so heroic.
They lived with moments of doubt and hesitation and even unbelief. But God says let me let me show you that in hindsight, there's this common thread running through their biographies they they saw the invisible and pursued the impossible.
They marched to a different drummer.
In fact, it's how incredibly encouraging to understand the only thing they had going for them is the same thing available to all of us. Faith is the drumbeat by which we walk with that Hebrews 11 one opens. Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen for by the men of old gained approval and immediately the Bible student takes out his pencil.
He says okay this sounds like a good definition faith is and you begin to dissect the verse to come up with okay faith is assurance and conviction about things I'm hoping for and things I can see but that doesn't fill in all the blanks in your left wondering okay how to how exactly do I get this kind of assurance and how I develop this kind of conviction so so what's he going to do. Let me remind you it is a definition of sorts, but there are several ways to define something one of those ways is objectively in other words, this is what it looks like. Let me tell you about the object. Let's look at it all observant and I'll tell you the facts as an objective definition. Another way of defining something is subjectively that is. As you relate to that object. Here's what it feels like there's 1/3 way of defining something that is functionally that's how it operates. That's exactly what is about to do. Let me illustrate it this way. Jonathan bring me a bicycle okay I want to define a bicycle. Three different ways. First of all I'm going to define it objectively, objectively, what we happen to have here is an object bicycle by the way the Latin words, compound word made up of body and cycled by meeting to cycle meeting we'll we have two wheels with me okay that the round they honestly roll their spokes. It seems to be constructed of some sort of metal maybe aluminum. There are all sorts of wires, cables, gears there's a chain connected to the petals.
It seems to me that those petals operate that chain, which operates the okay what I'm doing is giving you an objective definition simply making observations now.
I want to describe it or define it subjectively.
I was a Jonathan if you wrote that bicycle, it would be a great experience for writing downhill you you you could see the sun get a front row to creation the sun is on your face. The wind is whipping through your hair and if you would ride that by all. It would be wonderful for you to one what I'm doing is I'm defining a subjectively as a relates to how you and that object might interact.
But if I wanted to find it functionally.
I would say it doesn't want to sit on the bicycle some seat and put 1 foot on one pedal and another foot on the other pedal not at the same time. Okay :-) okay push off and begin the panel immediately. Now you want to balance and hold those handlebars watch where you're going and ride look at him go, that's that's how it operates.
Next time we'll talk about breaking okay. Go with the writer is doing is I think of defining faith functionally.
He wants us to know how it works.
He doesn't want to set it up for us and say, let me describe it for you or simply tell us how it feels.
He wants us to know how it operates. You see, Hebrews chapter 11 is not interested in a factual definition of faith but a functional description of faith. Here's how it works. You get sort of reading between the lines through this whole chapter and be telling yourself okay this is what faith does this is how faith acts.
This is how it operates. This is what God wants me to learn about the walk of faith.
And so the spirit of God is going to show us in this chapter that living by faith is not so much a definition. It is a demonstration. Begin by breaking down dysfunctional definition found in verse one into its three parts number one. If you have notes in your taking them faith continually provides a foundation for our hope it's the first point faith continually provides a foundation for our hope. The first part reads this. Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, your translation might read now faith is the confidence in what we hope for, or, here's my read. Faith is the substance of things hoped for those words assurance conviction substance are fine and good. Let me give you another word to add to the list based on the original word who posts stasis, stasis, meaning to stand and hoopoe meaning to stand under. In other words, assurance or confidence or substance is a reference to a foundation faith is the foundation of things hoped for faith is effectively the legs that hold the body upon the foundation that's constantly growing affect the present tense, lets us know that this foundation is constantly being added to its constantly being strengthened. This is the foundation our faith which supports our hope, and by the way, what are we hoping for Christ's return for the church are future glorified bodies, the reunion of all departed saints coming literal earthly kingdom where Christ will reign for thousand years and we with them a future new world where we will eternally dwell is the father's house descends, and then forever resides upon a newly created earth. Revelation 21 which we forever worship him and on his assignment. Explore and discover and enjoy listening to your faith does not make something true. Your faith simply embraces the truth and we know these things are true, by means of our faith in the inspired words of God, which is continually building a foundation upon which we stand. Our hopes we say the truth is even a secular worldview noticed is uneasy in their growing conviction that something more is out there. Talked a little bit about it this morning. The foundation flawed.
Our foundation that the world will be one day destroyed based on the objective revelation of God's word will indeed, we believe come true and that is the foundation upon which we stand. So our faith builds that foundation. Our faith is in fact that foundation I was in the pharmacy two days ago teenage girl behind the cash register. No one else around.
I said to her, hope you're having a good day she said well you know I'm really not my foot bothering me and I said will will what's problem and she went on to explain she'd been hurt several times in the soccer game couple different soccer games. It had surgery and as a result, it would ruin her hopes of of the being a dancer in the future and I so I sure am sorry but you and II believe that God has a has a reason for everything sort of just the kinda okay let's open this door and see what she says next and she said all I know, I know I know it's given me time to focus on my religion. I said really what religion she civil, pagan, I said light.
I know some people to fit that description.
But tell me what it means to you. She went on to tell me that she was studying to be a witch. I said really I said what are you going to do after that.
She said mama to start my own coven.
I said well what are you going to do next. She said well a lot I want to start my own earth teacher. I was glad she was talking about church.
I said what are you going to do after that. She said well I think I want to be a teacher. I said what he gonna do after that she civil I don't know. I said what are you gonna do one minute after you die and she just kinda twisted her hands together and smiled at me said well I don't know. I I hope the divine will be good to miss it so you believe in God.
After all, she said well you know not not that not like that, you know, I mean whatever and another customer came up and she was relieved and I decided to leave by saying I hope you think about that. I pray she will see her foundation. The foundation of her faith was so rickety that in the face of the few questions it didn't stand up. She was hoping for something, but had no foundation for her. Hope so. Here's the first observation of faith. Faith continually provides the true foundation for all our hopes. It isn't wistful thinking it is in hoping that someday some divine thing will be good to me. Faith Hebrews 1 says is a solid foundation that provides the building up of our assurance that knowledge you watch this carefully. It would be true to say then faith is not a feeling. However, it would also be true to say that faith affects deeply affects our feelings. Having a growing foundation for our hope causes us to feel a sense of urgency toward winning that teenage girl and people in your world. It causes us to to anticipate with with desire.
The return of Christ.
Our faith causes us to feel a longing for the redemption of our bodies. Romans eight it leads us to pray with contentment and Thanksgiving process going for it causes us to love and and humbly serve our fellow believers. Colossians 3 faith is not a feeling it is a foundation for the certainty of our hope, which will come to pass, but it can deeply affect the way we feel.
Think about what difference do you think it would make in the way I drove to the bank if my friend told me that he just deposited $1 million in my bank account. How do you think I'd feel how you think I would allow my emotions to affect my driving over to the bank I would break the sound barrier to get there. Actually how I drove over to the bank and how I felt while driving there would all be determined on how much faith how strong my faith was in the promise and the credibility of my friend if I really trusted him I could keep the speed limit. I might wait until tomorrow to drive over there. I might even sit down immediately and just without going there begin to write checks you see my faith in the promise of my friend makes all the difference in the world to me personally and it affects how I feel. That's why your faith and mine and the lives we are now living are really nothing more than our estimation of the character of God.
Our faith is our estimation of the character of God.
That's the first observation.
It provides a foundation for hope.
Secondly, it produces a conviction that invisible things exist.
Notice the text again. Faith is not only the assurance of things hoped for, but notice faith is the conviction of things not seen. Your translation may read the evidence of things not seen. It's a Greek word that appears only this time in the entire New Testament in this form and it refers to proof Aristotle use the word to refer to a convincing argument. Your faith is a convincing argument. It is the proof of an invisible world, so also watches. I love what he saying here.
He's not saying that your faith proves invisible things exist. He saying that your faith is the proof that invisible things exist and that's enough for faith is founded on the living word of the living Lord and and what are these invisible things, you become convinced of what is your faith, proof of the cross of Christ was sufficient. 2000 years ago to pay the penalty for your sins, you can fill your head piece you didn't see him die.
You didn't see them rise from the dead, your faith is the proof of that by faith. You believe in the resurrection of Christ to you and see that either you believe with conviction that the preached word will never be void or fruitless. I depend my entire life on that one. I may or may not see any evidence of that, but my proof is the evidence of by faith. You believe in the ministry of an invisible spirit who indwells you.
You believe in the ascended and enthroned Messiah never seen it. You believe in an ongoing spiritual invisible war determined to discourage and defeat you.
You can't see any of them.
You believe in the existence of invisible demons and angels you've never met one so I could I could paraphrase this phrase. This text again to capture the present tense were by reading this week. Faith produces a growing conviction that invisible things really do exist.
Eyesight proves the reality of the physical world. Faith proves the reality of the spiritual world that we know we can all use help in the physical world. That would mean I wear glasses right now.
Not because I want to but because they correct the weaknesses in my eyes brought on by a too much being about. I knew I'd pay for it one day.
I understand that you fishermen how many fishermen we have it here yeah I understand you guys can actually go and buy a pair fishermen's glasses to remove much of the glare city you can see the fish below the surface of the water better. That's what I needed. I've never caught ever you can.
You can by night vision lenses. How many hunters in here that can penetrate the darkness. If you are a hunter you can spot the game if you're a soldier you can identify the enemy you can you can sort of see the danger ahead with those night vision lenses. That's exactly what faith does for the believer. It is corrective lenses which brings things into focus, compensating for our weaknesses is a pair fishermen's glasses.
It helps us see past the glare around us and focus on our mission as fishers of men. Faith is a pair of night lenses which allows us to spot the enemy, that old serpent who puts traps in our path easy. Faith helps us see in the dark maybe right now you're walking there. Maybe your Valley is dark right now the lights are low, if not out God is brought you to a place where you cannot depend on your senses. You can only depend on the spirit, the growing Christian is someone who comes to trust in the spirit more than he does. His sons one more principle in this functional description. Faith prioritizes a lifestyle worthy of commendation verse two says four by it. Men of old gained approval is referring the Old Testament believers and is about to pull out about 12 biographies and will get into the first one gaining approval here means they received commendation by God and by others.
Why were they commended told us four by it. That is, for by this kind of faith.
This kind of hoping this kind of seeing the same symbol received commendation.
They became worthy of what we now call them heroes. Another said they took the first step, even though they couldn't see the whole staircase and the lights were out and it was really steep and some of the steps were slippery. Sometimes they stumble, but they pressed on clinging with conviction to the reality of invisible thing standing upon a foundation which bolstered their hopes. So today they are worthy of studying and imitating and following this, Paul exhorted New Testament believers to do because in them.
We'll we will see a a living demonstration of how faith operates, how it works prioritizes a lifestyle worthy of commendation. It produces a conviction of invisible reality. It provides a foundation upon which we rest our we are going to see a demonstration of faith that marches to the beat of a different drummer just like the people who will see in this people who marched to the beat of a different drummer. We too can live lives of faith. That's what will be encouraged to do as we proceed through this series entitled heroes.
This is wisdom for the heart.
The teaching ministry of Stephen Davey Stephen pastors colonial Baptist Church in Cary, North Carolina want to make you aware of two resources. First of all Stephen's latest book is entitled Hebrews 11 and comes directly from this teaching series, you can order Hebrews 11 on our website which is wisdom online.org or you can call us at 86 648 Bible. That's 866-482-4253. The other resource to be aware of is our magazine entitled heart to heart all of our wisdom partners receive heart-to-heart magazine as our gift but we be happy to send you the next three issues because you called and asked all you have to do is call us at 86 648 Bible and ask how you can receive heart-to-heart I'm glad you joined us today. Stephen will continue through this teaching series tomorrow. So join us here on wisdom for the heart