Text: Hebrews 11.1-40
Introduction: Have any of you been following Golf lately. I’m not a huge golf fan, but I love competition and following greatness. Jordan Speith has captured the attention of many in his quest for the Grand Slam. No One has ever one the big four; except I think Ben Hogan. To chase history like that has been fun. It’s been hard watching Tiger Woods. I flipped on the TV in time to watch him play the 18th hole yesterday. He was at one time set to be the greatest golfer ever. Now, he’s only mentioned in passing. I’m sure that only those closest to him saw this coming. Once on top of the Golf world – one of the richest athletes in the world – reduced to … a punch line.
There was some talk about the faith people put in these two men to win. I think faith means something different. You see it at sporting events where people hold up signs that say – we believe! We have Faith in you! I want to take you to a passage today, that defines what this really means. Turn to Hebrews Ch. 11.
The Bookends to this chapter set it up so well…
10.38-39: we are of those who have faith!
12.1-2: Let us throw off; let us run; let us look to Jesus – the author and perfecter of our faith!
Our topic is faith and this is the chapter for understanding it better; Three main sections to this chapter, within these bookends:
- Faith Explained (1)
- Faith Expressed (6)
- Faith Examined (7-40)
1. Faith Explained (1-5)
exp.: rd v 1;
- Defined: the assurance (confidence: realization/ what’s real on the inside – expressed on the outside; of things hoped for; Still, hope today has a different meaning than this kind of hope. It’s like when you asked your wife to marry you. You hoped she said yes, but if there was doubt, you’d have never have asked her! No, you were pretty sure of the answer. This is the realization on the inside, of ‘things’ you’re sure of on the outside; even thought they’re not seen; which is basically what he says here: the conviction of things not seen;
ill.: I have a strong conviction that electricity is real. I’ve never seen it, but I’m aware of it. I’ve seen the effects of it. I’ve seen lightning and fire started by a lighting bolt. I’ve seen sparks. And I’ve felt the unpleasant vibration electrical currents send when I’ve touched an electrical fence. I have a strong conviction of something I’ve never seen because of my experience.
- Demonstrated: rd v 2-3:
1st, By faith, people of old received their commendation;
2nd, we, exercise our faith in like manner; He uses creation as an example – we know God created the heavens and the earth by the power of his Word; ill.: David Platt, Counter Culture;
- Illustrated: rd v4-5; he offers us 2 illustrations
3rd, he gives example of Abel and Enoch, who were commended for their actions that came about because of their belief.
- Abel had no example – he only did by faith what he had been required to do. His action demonstrated his belief.
- Likewise, Enoch, lived out his faith and received God’s pleasure – God was pleased with him.
app.: what AH is saying is that Faith is demonstrated in what you do, in spite of the fact that you don’t see it with your eyes. These people knew it to be true, so they behaved like it.
t.s.: First, Faith is explained. 2ndly, it is expressed…
2. Faith Expressed (6)
exp.: rd v 6a; Do you want to find the pleasure of God? You can’t without faith; Do you remember the words of the Father about his son? This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased. Why? Because he was faith incarnate; everything he did was by faith – always trusting his father perfectly. Unlike us! Talk about Faith expressed! Tell me if this doesn’t sound just like Jesus: rd 6b; for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. Jesus knew his Father was listening and would talk to him out loud! Not like prayer in church, but in life: Jn 11. You see, that’s faith in action. You do what you know in your heart – that God is real and that you want to know him. And, that he will reward your action of searching him out!
app.: Are you there this morning? Do you desperately want to know him? He already knows you – and I can say with confidence that he loves you. You see the rest of this chapter is point # 3 – I’ll preach it someday, but for now, just know that it outlines the heroes of the faith who trusted God and lived their lives with the knowledge that what God had promised them, would one day come to them.
t.s.: and that is Faith Examined.
3. Faith Examined (7-40)
exp.: So many examples here of men and women who lived out their faith – knowing that what God had promised would come to pass.
app.: It is the same for us today – we trust that what God has promised to us is true. And what has he promised to us.
Conclusion: Here is faith spelled out for us:
- Forgiveness: You and I are sinners and we need God’s Forgiveness. – Romans 3.23 – 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; And in 3.10 – None is righteous. Not even one person! We are all sinners. The really good news for you and me is that Forgiveness is
- Available: You and I can know what it means to be forgiven of our sin. – Romans 6.23 – 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Here’s what this verse teaches us: 1st, that sin separates us from God; however, 2nd, through Christ Jesus our Lord, God offers us the forgiveness we need granting us eternal life with him. The reason we need this is because..
- Impossible: It is impossible for sinful people to be in the presence of a holy, perfect God. The sin must be forgiven – or as the Bible puts – atoned for. Here’s the deal: the wages of sin is death (we saw that earlier). So, you can pay that penalty yourself or let someone else. The Bible teaches us that Christ paid that penalty so we wouldn’t have to. Romans 5.6-9 states: 6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. So what do we need to do in light of this?
- Turn: That’s what faith in action is. It’s where you say you ‘believe’ what God means and says and will trust him to complete it. – Just like the saints of old mentioned in this chapter. Romans 10.9-10 words it this way: …if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. In these verses you see an inward and an outward activity. Something happens inside you, but no one knows it until you tell someone outwardly. Jesus is Lord. This means your saying out loud that he’s now your boss. What he says for your life is what goes. Believing in your heart that God raised him from the dead is your understanding that he died on the cross to pay that penalty, was buried in a borrowed tomb, and after three days, was raised from the dead. When that happens – then you have the promise of…
- Heaven: That’s for here and now and for the hereafter. You don’t have to wait to die to walk with God. You have that here and now! It doesn’t mean everything is perfect, but it does mean that he walks with you through those tough times.
Let me ask you: have you ever made that commitment before? Has there ever been in a time in your life when you confessed with your mouth Jesus is Lord. I want to offer you that opportunity right now. Let’s pray.