Hebrews Part 5 - Faith
— Hebrews 11:1-12:3
- Andrew Fountain — April 24th, 2011
- What is faith?
- When is it not faith?
- When was the greatest ever example of faith?
- “For the joy set out for him he endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.” [Heb 12:2]
Definition of Faith
- Faith is the Celebration of what we hope for
- the Certainty of what we do not see
- Three parts to faith:
- The person doing the trusting
- The person trusted (in this case, God)
- The thing trusted for: now invisible
- Example of waiting for coffee
- Me (need coffee)
- Bill—he will go to the roasters and get me some
- The coffee itself—now invisible but will soon appear
- As we go through these stories, see how each one has these three items
- Ask what is invisible and how it will become visible
Visible and the Invisible
- 11:3 Theme of visible and invisible runs throughout whole book
| Visible || Invisible at present |
| wilderness || the promised land |
Our inheritance in glory
| Sarah’s old age || Promise to Abraham of children |
| Levitical priests || Jesus, in glory |
| Earthly sanctuary || Heavenly sanctuary |
| sacrifices of bulls and goats || Jesus’ blood |
| (11:6) nothing || God |
| Noah: no rain || coming flood |
| Abraham: left his home, no land || an inheritance |
| etc... || |
- Especially see 12:26-28 — the example of Moses
- 12:25-29 the unshakable kingdom:
| the earthly reality || the heavenly reality |
| will be “shaken” || cannot be shaken |
| giving hospitality to a stranger (13:2) || in reality an angel |
- Now faith is the celebration of what we hope for, the certainty of what we do not see. 2For by it the people of old were commended by God.
| 3By faith we || understand that the worlds were set in order at God’s command, so that the visible has its origin in the invisible. |
| 4 By faith Abel || offered God a greater sacrifice than Cain, and through his faith he was commended as righteous, because God commended him for his offerings. And through his faith he still speaks, though he is dead.|
| 5By faith Enoch || was taken up so that he did not see death, and he was not to be found because God took him up. For before his removal he had been commended as having pleased God. |
- Now without faith it is impossible to please him, for the one who approaches God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
| 7 By faith Noah || when he was warned about things not yet seen, with reverent regard constructed an ark for the deliverance of his family. Through faith he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.|
| 8By faith Abraham || obeyed when he was called to go out to a place he would later receive as an inheritance, and he went out without understanding where he was going. |
| 9 By faith he || lived as a foreigner in the promised land as though it were a foreign country, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, who were fellow heirs of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with firm foundations, whose architect and builder is God. |
| 11By faith [Abraham] || even though Sarah herself was barren and he was too old, he received the ability to procreate, because he regarded the one who had given the promise to be trustworthy. 12So in fact children were fathered by one man—and this one as good as dead—like the number of stars in the sky and like the innumerable grains of sand on the seashore. |
- These all died in faith without receiving the things promised, but they saw them in the distance and welcomed them and acknowledged that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth.
- For those who speak in such a way make it clear that they are seeking a homeland.
- In fact, if they had been thinking of the land that they had left, they would have had opportunity to return.
- But as it is, they aspire to a better land, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
| 17By faith Abraham || when he was tested, offered up Isaac. He had received the promises, yet he was ready to offer up his only son. 18God had told him, “Through Isaac descendants will carry on your name,” 19and he reasoned that God could even raise him from the dead, and in a sense he received him back from there. |
| 20 By faith also Isaac || blessed Jacob and Esau concerning the future. |
| 21By faith Jacob || as he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph and worshiped as he leaned on his staff.|
| 22By faith Joseph || at the end of his life, mentioned the exodus of the sons of Israel and gave instructions about his burial. |
| 23By faith Moses’ parents || when he was born, hid him for three months, because they saw the child was beautiful and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.|
| 24By faith Moses || when he grew up refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25choosing rather to be ill-treated with the people of God than to enjoy sin’s fleeting pleasure. 26He regarded abuse suffered for Christ to be greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for his eyes were fixed on the reward. |
| 27By faith he || left Egypt without fearing the king’s anger, for he persevered as though he could see the one who is invisible. |
| 28By faith he || kept the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood, so that the one who destroyed the firstborn would not touch them. |
| 29By faith the Israelites || crossed the Red Sea as if on dry ground, but when the Egyptians tried it, they were swallowed up. |
| 30By faith || the walls of Jericho fell after the people marched around them for seven days. |
| 31By faith Rahab || the prostitute escaped the destruction of the disobedient, because she welcomed the spies in peace.|
- And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets.
- Through faith they conquered kingdoms, administered justice, gained what was promised, shut the mouths of lions,
- quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, gained strength in weakness, became mighty in battle, put foreign armies to flight,
- and women received back their dead raised to life. But others were tortured, not accepting release, to obtain resurrection to a better life.
- And others experienced mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment.
- They were stoned, sawed apart, murdered with the sword; they went about in sheepskins and goatskins; they were destitute, afflicted, ill-treated
- (the world was not worthy of them); they wandered in deserts and mountains and caves and openings in the earth.
- And these all were commended for their faith, yet they did not receive what was promised.
- For God had provided something better for us, so that they would be made perfect together with us.
- At the end the film speeds up, just quick frames are flashed
- Why end on the negatives?
- In some way these were the greatest examples because they were wholly trusting for the future
- You may have some things in your life, and on the surface it looks one way
- But God says something different
- Are we going to believe God?
- Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, we must get rid of every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and run with endurance the race set out for us,
- keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.
For the joy set out for him he endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.
- Think of him who endured such opposition against himself by sinners, so that you may not grow weary in your souls and give up.
- The full blessing will be in the future
- We will have perfection at the same time as them, in heaven
- So what is better for us?
- Here is the image of the last stage of a race.
- Have you ever run a long race and have felt like giving up
- I’m told that it is a huge psychological encouragement to have people cheering you on!
- Noah is there cheering you, so is Moses and Abraham!
- But more than that, Jesus is our pioneer
- He has fought the battle of faith
- Was it easy for him? —think of Gethsemane
- If you are having a struggle with faith in your life right now, Jesus understands that!
- In that sense he is the “pioneer”
- He is also the “perfecter”
- This faith is a gift—he puts it in us and gives us his faith
- So we can have more victory than Abraham or Moses
- because we have Jesus to strengthen us through his Spirit
- He encourages us in a way that is much more direct than for those of old
Updated on 2011-05-12 by Andrew Fountain