Hebrews Lesson 40: By Faith :: By Sean Gooding

Chapter 11: 1-12

“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.

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.

7 By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.

8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; 10 for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. 11 By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude—innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.”

Living by faith has always been a part of the walk of all of God’s people on this side of eternity. Yes, at times and for short encounters, God revealed Himself to some of our spiritual patriarchs, but they lived by faith, just as we do. Faith, we are told in verse 1, is about hope. Hope that is founded in the character and person of God. Faith that is based on God’s goodness, faithfulness, and power. Faith that says that we can trust God no matter what we see, hear, and think we know. When all else fails, God simply cannot fail. Notice that this is the only way to obtain a ‘good testimony.’

As I was reading this morning in the Gospel of John, I could see that the apostles and the disciples that followed Jesus had to exercise faith even when they saw Him. They had to trust in very harrowing times that He was who He said He was. They had to have this faith as He was leaving; His journey here was just a short spot in all eternity. Peter and others believed by faith that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the Living God.

  • Creation Faith, verse 3

Genesis 1:1 is the most important verse in the Bible. If one can accept this by faith, then everything else the Bible tells us is possible. This is why there is such a deliberate effort on the part of many to undermine this Creation account. If they can create doubts that there is a creative God, they can claim there is not a saving God either. One cannot pick and choose; most all will take John 3:16 at face value but turn around and reject Genesis 1:1 at face value. The same faith is necessary to have both.

  • Blood Sacrifice Faith, verse 4

God established this principle in Genesis 3:21 when He took skins and clothed Adam and Eve’s sinful shame. Abel took this lesson to heart; his brother did not, and it cost Abel his life. The battle has never stopped; for those who believe by faith, the blood covers our sins versus those who want to come their own way.

  • Rapture Faith, verse 5

Enoch was taken before he saw death. He pleased God, and God took him. We, too, are looking to be taken. One day, if Jesus tarries, those of us who are alive will be ‘caught up’ in the air and live with Jesus forever. In a similar way, the dead will be called up from their graves and meet Jesus in the air as well. There was a precursor to this in Matthew 27:51-53.

  • Seeking Jesus Faith, verse 6

There is the faith that is needed for salvation, that ‘at a moment faith.’ But we need to have daily faith to trust Jesus in every aspect. This is the hardest thing to do at times – to surrender control, to accept that God is in control and that no matter how it looks, He always, always has our best at the forefront of His mind. The faith to trust what we cannot see and frame all we see in the goodness and faithfulness of God. To have the faith to drown out the doubts.

God rewards faith. God respects our faith. He never takes our faith in Him lightly. Jesus understood firsthand the limits of the human condition. The One who created food was, at times, hungry. The One who invented water thirsted. The Author of truth was often lied about and lied to. We can go on. Jesus, the friend who is closer than a brother, was betrayed by a friend. He knows where you are, and God appreciates your faith.

  • Rainfall Faith, verse 7

Noah had to trust that God was going to do something that he had never seen and did not know what it was. Since God had spoken the world into existence, He could speak rain into existence. So, Noah obeyed, and Noah took the ridicule of his society and the rejection of his message of salvation. Nonetheless, he led his family, and when no one else was saved, his family was. You and I are here today because Noah led his family to have faith in God, God’s word, and God’s power.

How are you leading your family? Do you trust God? Do you live by faith for your children to see? Do you tell them about the trials and tests that you go through so they can learn and have faith just as you do?

Live out your faith with all your faults and failures and speak to them in love and with kindness, and they will follow you into the Kingdom. Fathers, 93% of kids born into families that are led spiritually by you will also follow Jesus. What a hope we have for our kids.

God bless you,

Dr. Sean Gooding
Pastor of Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church

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