Hebr. 11 Exhibit Your Faith

EXHIBIT YOUR FAITH
Hebrews 11:1-40  November 12 2006

The author did not provide a formal definition of
faith. Rather, he gave a description of faith by
telling what faith does. In this well-known
chapter, often called the “roll call of the faithful,”
we read a historical review of outstanding people
who have lived by faith through the ages, focusing
first on Abel, then on to many of the patriarch, and
concluding with miscellaneous examples of
faithful believers. What inspiring example of a faith
-walk with God are given in this wonderful chapter!

1. Real Faith (Hebr. 11:1:3)

Hebr. 11:1   Now faith is being sure of what we hope
for and certain of what we do not see. 11:2   This is
what the ancients were commended for. 11:3   By faith
we understand that the universe was formed at God’s
command, so that what is seen was not made out of
what was visible.

Having already urged believers to continue in the
faith, the writer described faith and illustrated
its importance in the lives of real people . More
philosophical then practical the description gives
characteristics of this faith.

We notice two parallels in this verse: reality and
proof, and what is hoped for and what is not seen.
Faith deals with the reality of the future, with
things not yet experienced. Faith brings an inner
assurance that extends beyond what we can see
and touch.

2. Pleasing Faith (Hebr. 11:6-8)

Hebr. 11:6   And without faith it is impossible to please
God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that
he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek
him. 11:7   By faith Noah, when warned about things not
yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By
his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the
righteousness that comes by faith. 11:8   By faith Abraham,
when called to go to a place he would later receive as his
inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know
where he was going.

These next verses read somewhat like a condensed
version of the Old Testament. Here are ordinary men
and women who demonstrated uncommon faith – the
kind of faith that no doubt perplexed those about them
but pleased the God above them.

After discussing the faith of the shepherd name Abel
(Heb.11:4) and a preacher named Enoch (Heb. 11:5-6),
the author made a major statement about faith.

Noah and Abraham were people who pleased God because
they demonstrated their faith by their actions.

3. Persistent Faith (Hebr. 11:13-16)

Hebr. 11:13   All these people were still living by faith
when they died. They did not receive the things promised;
they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance.
And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on
earth. 11:14   People who say such things show that they
are looking for a country of their own. 11:15   If they had
been thinking of the country they had left, they would have
had opportunity to return. 11:16   Instead, they were longing
for a better country —a heavenly one. Therefore God is not
ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city
for them.

Abraham. Isaac, and Jacob are the example of persistent
faith summarized in these verses.

They confessed that they were foreigners and temporary
residents on earth. Abraham used this same description
of himself in (Gen. 23:4), and Peter used it of Christians
in (1 Peter 1:1; 2:11). This description underscores the
truth that heavenly, not earthly things , are of the highest
importance.

`    We too are “pilgrims and foreigners” passing through this
world on our way to heaven, “a city that has foundations,
whose architect and builder is God”(Heb.11:10).

4. Tested Faith (Herb. 11:17-19, 24-26)

Hebr. 11:17   By faith Abraham, when God tested him,
offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the
promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son,
11:18   even though God had said to him, “It is through
Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” 11:19
Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and
figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from
death. 11:24   By faith Moses, when he had grown up,
refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.
11:25   He chose to be mistreated along with the people
of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short
time. 11:26   He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ
as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because
he was looking ahead to his reward.

The supreme example of Abraham’s faith testis seen
in two places. We have the telescopic view in Hebrews
11 and the microscopic overview in Genesis 22. The test
lay in the conflict between the divine promise that
Isaac was the heir and command of God to put him to
death.

Abraham’s response was of one of unquestioning trust
and explicit faith. He obeyed God.

Summary:

Hebrews teaches us that saving faith always exhibits
itself in good works. Although works do not save us , they
are evidence we are saved. The author of Hebrews
reminded his readers that the righteous ” will live by faith”
(Heb. 10:38). James went so far as to say , “Show me your
faith without works, and I will show you faith from my
works”(James 2:18).

The verses in this lesson are not in contradiction to the
doctrine of salvation by faith alone. They teach us that the
saved exhibit their faith by their works, which is the title
of the lesson and also the theme of the chapter.

Moses’ faith was as unusual as Noah building an ark
without a cloud in the sky . . . as unusual as Sarah talking
about childbearing when she was pushing the century mark
. . . as unusual as Abraham lifting the blade to slay his only
son.