Hebrews 11:1-6 New King James Version (NKJV)
By Faith We Understand
1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.
3 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.
Faith at the Dawn of History
4 By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks.
5 By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, “and was not found, because God had taken him”; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God. 6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Do any of us need our faith lifted? Or increased?
--Jesus' disciples wanted more faith, so they came.
--"Lord, increase our faith," they asked (Luke 17:5).
--So Jesus taught them. Would you like more?
--I would. That is my prayer. For all of us.
First, what is faith? Faith is confidence in God!
--Hebrews 11:1 defines it, "faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
--It is equivalent with believing. Involves trust.
--It is confidence in God, and His Word, as truth.
--In this holy faith saints of old were blessed.
--It is simply believing God's gift and promises.
In Hebrews 11, I counted 22 people of "great faith."
--Real, historic folks, as we. Let's add our names.
--What a valuable, encouraging chapter to study!
Facing times like these, we need increased faith.
--Jesus told of some of "little faith" (Mt. 6:30).
--Commended others "of such great faith" (Mt. 8;10).
--He declared, "Your faith has made you well."
-—He prays, "that your faith fail not" (Luke 22:32).
How do we get faith? "Faith comes by hearing."
—Hearing what? "Hearing the Word of God" (Rom 10:17).
--We are"saved by grace through faith" (Eph. 2:8).
--To win over sin, "taking the shield of faith."
-—The aged Apostle Paul, "I have kept the faith."
-—"Add to your faith, virtue, knowledge" (2 Pet 1:8).
How valuable is our faith? More than we imagine!
--It is "able to save." To "overcome the world."
--To "overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil."
--"Without faith it is impossible to please God."
--"He who comes to God must believe that He is" (v 6).
--An infinite God is known by our personal faith.
--God made the world and us. Came in love to save.
I love beautiful, historic Williamsburg, VA.
--Patrick Henry is well-known there, as a believer.
--Also as a statesman and orator, for freedoms.
--Wrote in his will, "I would like to leave my family my Christian faith. With that they will be rich if I did not leave them one shilling. Without that, they would be poor, had I given them the world."
--My friend, that's the faith to have. To share.
Patrick Henry was brought up in the Christian faith.
--He had been taught the Word of God, in the home.
--More.than others, parents must teach the faith.
--In the home. From the Bible. To exemplify it.
--To use also the resources of the church.
--If we neglect such training, we all may lose.
Have faith! In God. Parents. People. Each other.
--We live by trusting those who serve us to be true.
--Jesus said, "You believe in God ..believe in Me."
--"If it were not so, I would have told you" (Jn. 14).
--"I go to prepare a place for you, there you may be."
We all have some faith for "God has dealt to each one a measure of faith" (Romans 12:3). It needs to grow.
--So the disciples said, "Lord, increase our faith."
--Jesus' whole time on earth, was teaching them.
--He said, "If you have faith as a mustard seed," the smallest of seeds, "it can move mountains" (Mt. 17).
--Do you have any "mountains" needing moving?
For faith to be increased, it must be truly tested.
--We have testings all our life, in school and out.
--Some may be going through some tough testings now.
--Maybe your health, or that of a loved one dear.
--Maybe someone wayward, in the family or friend.
--Maybe your job - or lack of one. Some great loss.
--Some great disappointment. Your faith is tested.
--Don't lose it. Or fail it. Let it grow in God!
From patriarchs, prophets, apostles, to Jesus, or us, no person goes through life without a cross or tests.
--Hear Him, "Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). In the Lord, so may we!
--Faith, prayer, Scripture, the church, all needed.
--Reduce concerns of self. Concentrate on Christ.
--Recall, after His cross, came His resurrection!
--Let Him rise, with blessings, in us!
Tomorrow's plans, I do not know,
I only know this minute.
God says, "This is the way!"
By faith, I'll walk in it.
Like everything good, faith must also be learned.
--It is a process, to be learning, all through life.
--In a bad storm, a little girl was afraid.
--Ran to her parents in bed, "Mommy, I'm afraid!"
--Thunder clapping, lightning flashing, all around.
--"It's just a storm," parents assured," fear not.
--"Go back to your own bed, God is there with you."
--She slowly started back, when a loud clash came.
--She dashed back, "Mommy, you go in my bed with God, and I'll stay right here .. with Daddy."
--That little girl needed "a God with skin" she said.
--A God with skin .. like Jesus .. is why Jesus came.
So faith needs to be learned. The sooner the better. That's why the disciples asked, "Increase our faith"
In fact, they asked Jesus three special requests.
--First, "Lord, teach us to pray" (Lk. 11:1). He did.
--Next, they wanted God's power and presence.
--So Jesus promised them the Holy Spirit.
--Third, they asked, "Lord, increase our faith."
--Trusting Jesus, we see all these God gives to any.
Faith is necessary, as water .. food .. air.
--We never outgrow the need for any of these.
--Essential to defeat doubt. Our adversaries.
--For guidance and wisdom. To overcome our fears.
--You know faith, and fear, do not mix.
--"Faith casts out fear." Brings us inward peace.
A farmer needed a tool at the barn one dark night.
--Lit the lantern, asked the son to fetch it for him.
--He started, but soon came back, "Dad, I'm afraid."
--"The light doesn't reach all the way. It's dark."
--His Dad said, "The light will shine one step at a time, all the way .. and that is all you need."
That's the way God works in us, "one step at a time."
--Sure, testings come. To Jesus. To us. Never fear.
--Why we all need Jesus, and for faith to increase.
--Faith can move mountains, or mountains move us.
--So no matter what comes our way, keep the faith.
--Some faith in Christ will bring a soul to heaven.
--More faith in God, will bring heaven to us, here.
We are told "without faith it is impossible to please God .. we must believe God is (exists), and that Be is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him"(Heb. 11:6).
--A child grows, by love, care, food, and prayer.
--It learns to have faith. To let one's faith grow.
It was a rainy, dark, foggy day for my first flight.
--I was bound from Philadelphia to Detroit, Michigan.
--To candidate for a pastorate. I needed much faith.
--All these factors, made my family and me concerned.
--So we increased our prayers, that increased faith.
--We said our goodbyes. I boarded the strange plane.
--You know, five minutes up, there was a bright sun!
--We had a fine, safe flight. I got the church.
--Spent 12 good years there. Built a new building.
--In faith, God wonderfully blessed the church and us.
God told Noah to build an ark. It had never rained.
--People disbelieved, mocked and jeered old Noah.
--But Noah kept on building. Believing. Preaching.
--Noah's faith was stronger than doubts of others.
Hebrews 11 tells of 22 wbose faith in God was great.
--People like Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and Moses.
--Many of them, listed, with a great story to tell.
--Like Daniel, whose faith kept him from the mouths, and the paws, of ferocious lions, he was thrown in.
--What a model young person, was this man, Daniel.
--Of Jeremiah, Job, Joseph, and all the rest.
--My friend, I want that kind of faith. And for you.
Place your faith in the Lord Jesus, God our Savior.
--He is able to save, guide, provide, and bless.
--He is the God, in flesh, I needed Who is adequate.
--Loving, forgiving, patient, and faithful.
--Have you given Him place in your life? As Lord?
--Why not now?
Wilbert D. Gough, ThD., DD. 809