Temple Baptist Church - 11-20-2019
A. Hebrews, chapter 11, has often been called “The Hall of Faith.” Throughout recorded time, God’s people have been a people of faith and there is a list found in chapter 11 or great men and women who exercised faith in perilous times and circumstances.
1. In Luke, chapter 18, we find the story of the widow pleading without ceasing to an unjust judge. Because of her tenacity, he gives her what she desires. The Lord commends her faith and then asks a question in verse 8.
Luke 18:8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
2. This is not faith to be saved but faith to endure. These early Jewish Christians, the “strangers scattered” in 1 Peter, withstood great persecution from both Jew and Gentile.
3. Thus chapter 11 of the Book of Hebrews is about enduring faith, not saving faith.
B. The first word of chapter 11 is “for.” Chapters 10-11 are found in the same context. Chapter 10 ends with these words:
Hebrews 10:35-39 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. (36) For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. (37) For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. (38) Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. (39) But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.
C. Faith Defined. Merriam-Webster has several different definitions for faith, so I chose the one that the Bible defines: belief and trust in and loyalty to God.
The Bible defines faith as persuasion, credence, conviction, reliance, constancy, assurance, fidelity.
D. The Apostle Paul said it this way:
2 Timothy 1:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. (Faith – absolute assurance)
E. Everyone, saved or unsaved, has “faith.” God gives to every man “the measure of faith” to be exercised in salvation but most choose to reject Him. Still, even the unsaved have faith in things, be they right or wrong.
F. The world believes that God’s people have a “blind faith,” but they are wrong. Our faith is not blind. Unsaved individuals have no biblical comprehension of what true faith involves because the Bible is a spiritual book that must be spiritually discerned.
1 Corinthians 2:9-16 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. (10) But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. (11) For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. (12) Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. (13) Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. (14) But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (15) But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. (16) For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
G. Now, let us look at verse 1. In the Bible definition of faith, we find two things that descriptive concerning our faith: substance and evidence.
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
1. Faith is the substance of things hoped for. Substance can be touched.
2. Faith is the evidence of things not seen. Evidence can be seen.
H. Verses 1-3 define both aspects.
1. Now faith is the substance of things hoped for. “For by it the elders obtained a good report.” They had to be saved before they could have a faith to endure.
a. The Path of Faith. I see biblical salvation in our spiritual fathers. Their salvation did not make them perfect, but it changed their lives. They “obtained a good report.” As we continue in chapter 11, we will find a people of faith that caused them to endure hardness, disappointment, persecution and—in many cases—suffer a martyr’s death. The history of their lives has substance!
b. The Performance of Faith. Salvation is not reformation, it is transformation. Saving Faith that makes a new creature in Christ Jesus. I am not speaking of religion. I am speaking of biblical salvation. The finest people that I have ever known have been born again Christians. The best neighbors, the best friends, the best citizens have been God’s children. I am not ashamed to call them brethren. I am not ashamed to be counted as one of them. Their lives have substance!
c. The Personalization Faith. I have experienced the New Birth! I have experienced that dramatic change in life. I did not “turn over a new leaf.” The Holy Spirit of God came into my being and my life was and is forever changed. From darkness to light in a moment when I asked God to forgive my sin and save my soul. My wife saw it; my family saw it; my friends saw it. It has substance!
d. The Promise of Faith. To all who repent and believe. I have heard people say that they tried it and it did not work. They did not repent and believe! “Who will have all men to be saved!” Too many people want the world and they want Jesus Christ; they want self and they want Jesus Christ; they want their sin and they want Jesus Christ. Someone once said, “God will always give you what you want but it will always cost you what you have got.” The Bible is a life changing book. It has substance.
e. The Perseverance of Faith. True saving faith brings about true persevering faith! The “good seed in the good ground,” brought about “good fruit.”
2. “Now faith is” the evidence of things not seen. “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.”
a. In Creation We See Design. Nothing has never created anything nor can it. Draw a complete vacuum and it will always be a complete vacuum! An explosion has never created perfection. In the history of mankind, there has never been an explosion that made anything other than destruction and disorder. Everything that we see around us is perfectly designed. Evolution is randomness while creation is design. When I look at the different species of plants, birds, animals, fish and sea creatures, I stand amazed. When I think about the human body with of its different parts and each part having different cells (you cannot take a piece of your liver and make a new heart; you cannot take a piece of your flesh and make a brain; etc. as they are all different cells that make up your perfect body), I stand amazed. Completely designed with no unnecessary parts to make up the whole. Everything in our world has its own place and does its own part to make up perfection. God created it and saw that it was very good. In creation, I see evidence!
Genesis 1:31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
b. In Creation We See Distinction. There is distinction in everything that I see. Every animal, every bird, every fist, every man is distinct. In Evolution, every cell should reach that same way when placed in the same conditions. This is not so in what we observe. Trees are different, grass is different, birds are different, animals are different, fish are different, stars and planets are different. God made a distinction between the species.
1 Corinthians 15:39-41 All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. (40) There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. (41) There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.
c. In Creation We See Order. Everything reproduces after its own kind. No dogs with cats, lions with elephants, bass with crappie, eagle with sparrows, etc. Everything brings forth after its own kind. Oak trees do not cross with pine trees, crab grass with centipede grass, roses with tulips, etc. Bees, etc. help to pollenate all types of flowers but the flowers maintain their physical integrity. God made it so! The creation is orderly.
Genesis 1:24-25 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. (25) And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
Conclusion: We that are saved have a biblical faith that cannot be either moved or removed! It has substance and evidence.