What part in your life, does faith play?
In this study we will consider the part faith has played in people that have lived before us.
It is my hope that this study will encourage our faith and strength in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I will use Scripture from the Amplified Bible (copyright - The Lockman Foundation) for this study.
Please turn in your bibles to Hebrews chapter 11:
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].
The word faith may mean many different things to different people. If someone asked me what faith means... with respect to my belief in Christ Jesus, I would answer like this:
“I believe that the bible is God’s Word, inerrant and complete. I believe that God gave His Word to men for their benefit and has preserved it by divine intervention. I believe that God’s Word is relevant today and is useful for gaining wisdom and knowledge for everyday living. I believe that God’s Word is true and can be trusted completely. I believe Jesus Christ is the Word of God incarnate in the flesh. I believe that it is necessary to accept all of God’s Word, because I accept Jesus and Jesus is God’s Word. If I take scissors and cut out the parts of God’s Word that I don’t like, I am not believing by faith. I believe that I am the one that must change when I find that I am not living in conformity with God’s Word.”
Okay, that’s enough about my definition of faith. I could go on and on about what I believe, but that does not accomplish what I need to share in this study.
Hebrews 11:2 For by [faith--trust and holy fervor born of faith] the men of old had divine testimony borne to them and obtained a good report.
Hebrews 11:3 By faith we understand that the worlds [during the successive ages] were framed (fashioned, put in order, and equipped for their intended purpose) by the word of God, so that what we see was not made out of things which are visible.
The bible records for us the account of creation. Do you believe it?
It takes faith to believe and accept what God tells us. God spoke into existence all things. That is to say, the Word of God was actively involved with the creation of everything.
The theories proposed today about the beginning of man refuse to acknowledge God. They desperately want to prove that there is no God. They will never be able to do it. They are not men of faith.
Men of old believed God and have born testimony to the faithfulness and goodness of God. They lived by faith and are an example for us.
Their “good report” has been recorded for us to witness and to show us that God is trustworthy.
Hebrews 11:4 [Prompted, actuated] by faith Abel brought God a better and more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, because of which it was testified of him that he was righteous [that he was upright and in right standing with God], and God bore witness by accepting and acknowledging his gifts. And though he died, yet [through the incident] he is still speaking.
Have you heard about Abel and what happened?
Isn’t that incredible? After this long, the account of Abel’s sacrifice offered to God is told. God was pleased with Abel and accepted his sacrifice. Abel was righteous because of his faith and obedience to God.
Hebrews 11:5 Because of faith Enoch was caught up and transferred to heaven, so that he did not have a glimpse of death; and he was not found, because God had translated him. For even before he was taken to heaven, he received testimony [still on record] that he had pleased and been satisfactory to God.
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out].
Enoch’s faith also is testified to today. Have you heard of Enoch?
Genesis 5:18 When Jared was 162 years old, Enoch was born.
Genesis 5:19 Jared lived after the birth of Enoch 800 years and had other sons and daughters.
Genesis 5:21 When Enoch was 65 years old, Methuselah was born.
Genesis 5:22 Enoch walked [in habitual fellowship] with God after the birth of Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters.
Genesis 5:23 So all the days of Enoch were 365 years.
Genesis 5:24 And Enoch walked [in habitual fellowship] with God; and he was not, for God took him [home with Him].
Here are six verses that speak of Enoch, and of these, two of them tell of Enoch walking in habitual fellowship with God.
Enoch had faith in God and walked with Him continually. Enoch’s account is remembered today.
It is impossible to please or to be satisfactory to God without faith. If you walk habitually with God, you must therefore believe that God exists and rewards those who seek Him.
Hebrews 11:7 [Prompted] by faith Noah, being forewarned by God concerning events of which as yet there was no visible sign, took heed and diligently and reverently constructed and prepared an ark for the deliverance of his own family. By this [his faith which relied on God] he passed judgment and sentence on the world's unbelief and became an heir and possessor of righteousness (that relation of being right into which God puts the person who has faith).
Have you heard of Noah?
Out of all the people living at that time, only Noah and his family had faith in God.
God told Noah to build an ark, for it would rain and flood the earth. Do you know Noah had never seen rain before? God had watered the earth with a mist until that time. It had never rained before.
Noah believed God... he built the ark as God instructed and gathered all the animals and birds. All life outside of the ark perished.
Was Noah’s faith important?
Hebrews 11:8 [Urged on] by faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and went forth to a place which he was destined to receive as an inheritance; and he went, although he did not know or trouble his mind about where he was to go.
Hebrews 11:9 [Prompted] by faith he dwelt as a temporary resident in the land which was designated in the promise [of God, though he was like a stranger] in a strange country, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs with him of the same promise.
Hebrews 11:10 For he was [waiting expectantly and confidently] looking forward to the city which has fixed and firm foundations, whose Architect and Builder is God.
Have you heard of Abraham and his faith?
Abraham’s father didn’t believe in God. Abraham broke away from his family’s beliefs and put his faith in God. Abraham’s faith is often spoken of today. God made a lasting covenant with Abraham because of his faith. That covenant was extended to Abraham’s descendants and to every person who will put their faith in God.
Hebrews 11:11 Because of faith also Sarah herself received physical power to conceive a child, even when she was long past the age for it, because she considered [God] Who had given her the promise to be reliable and trustworthy and true to His word.
Sarah believed God too. We hear of her today as well, don’t we?
Do you think the faith of Abraham was influential with Sarah?
Hebrews 11:12 So from one man, though he was physically as good as dead, there have sprung descendants whose number is as the stars of heaven and as countless as the innumerable sands on the seashore.
Hebrews 11:13 These people all died controlled and sustained by their faith, but not having received the tangible fulfillment of [God's] promises, only having seen it and greeted it from a great distance by faith, and all the while acknowledging and confessing that they were strangers and temporary residents and exiles upon the earth.
Hebrews 11:14 Now those people who talk as they did show plainly that they are in search of a fatherland (their own country).
Hebrews 11:15 If they had been thinking with [homesick] remembrance of that country from which they were emigrants, they would have found constant opportunity to return to it.
Hebrews 11:16 But the truth is that they were yearning for and aspiring to a better and more desirable country, that is, a heavenly [one]. For that reason God is not ashamed to be called their God [even to be surnamed their God--the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob], for He has prepared a city for them.
There are so many more accounts of faithful men and women in this chapter. They are recorded to keep our faith strong and alive. To encourage us to live by faith as they did.
Hebrews 11:36 Others had to suffer the trial of mocking and scourging and even chains and imprisonment.
Hebrews 11:37 They were stoned to death; they were lured with tempting offers [to renounce their faith]; they were sawn asunder; they were slaughtered by the sword; [while they were alive] they had to go about wrapped in the skins of sheep and goats, utterly destitute, oppressed, cruelly treated—
Hebrews 11:38 [Men] of whom the world was not worthy--roaming over the desolate places and the mountains, and [living] in caves and caverns and holes of the earth.
Hebrews 11:39 And all of these, though they won divine approval by [means of] their faith, did not receive the fulfillment of what was promised,
Hebrews 11:40 Because God had us in mind and had something better and greater in view for us, so that they [these heroes and heroines of faith] should not come to perfection apart from us [before we could join them].
What is it like for you, beloved? Does your faith motivate your life daily?
Do you have your faith rooted in God and His Faithful Word? Rooted in Christ Jesus?
Are you looking forward to the fulfillment of God’s promise of eternal life and heaven?
Are you living as though that promise is a fact and a sure thing?
The witnesses we have considered today, put their faith first in their lives. They expected God to be true to His Word.
We look up to these people of faith. We admire what they did and accomplished.
Have you considered that someone may be watching your life? You might be inspiring another person to live by faith.
How does that make you feel?
Will your faith be a good witness to someone else? Will your faith cause another person to believe that God exists and that He is faithful and good?
If you knew you were being watched, would you choose to live in a different way?
We started this study by asking the question: “What part in your life, does faith play?”
Should your faith be playing a more important role in your life?
Only you can answer this question.
My answer to this question is: “Yes, faith should be playing a more important role in my life.”
Is faith important today? I say it is... what do you say?
Pray for one another, encourage each other and love one another more everyday. May those who follow us in life, be able to say of us: “They were faithful men and women of God.”
Bible study by InAwe