Westbrook Park United Methodist Church
- Faith is what it takes to make the journey
Hebrews 11:1–3 ESVNow faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.Faith is closely linked to hope. real bible faith is a confident obedience to God’s word in spite of circumstances and consequences.Real faith hears God and acts on what God says no matter the circumstance or the consequence… we obey just the same and believe Him to do what is right and what is best.Three words in this passage are important to our understanding of faith....Assurance, conviction, and commendationAssurance- the substance of who we are as Christians. Faith is looking at God and trusting him for everything, while hope is looking at the future and trusting God for it.Conviction. it is the evidence that what God has promised he will perform. The presence of God given faith in one’s heart is conviction enough that God will keep his word.The commendation… the witness. It is the divine approval on our lives and ministries… the divine favor on the likes of Abraham, Sarah, Enoch, Abel and others cited int thie list that follows.Faith is the substructure, the framework, on which the Christian life resides. It is the basis of the Christian’s being, the seed out of which everything else flows.A Faith that Worships-Abel Hebrews 11:4 ESVBy faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks.The back story is found in Genesis 4:1-10 Genesis 4:1–10 ESV1 Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord.” 2 And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground. 3 In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, 4 and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, 5 but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. 6 The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.” 8 Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. 9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” 10 And the Lord said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground.God had revealed to Adam and his descendants the true way of worhsip, and Abel obeyed God by faith.Cain on the other hand, was religious but not righteous.God accepted Abel, and will reward his faith through and out the other side of death. Though he is dead, the account of his faith is still a powerful withness to us so many years later.Susan HoukBob Reed at the Wellsville church… Melvin Chestnut.A Faith That Worships. Abel not only was religious, he was righteous. He lived what he believed.A Faith that Walks- Enoch Hebrews 11:5–6 ESVBy faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. Genesis 5:24 ESVEnoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.Our faith in God grows as we fellowship with God. We must have both the desire to please Him and the diligence to seek Him. Prayer, meditating on the Word, worship, discipline—all of these help us in our walk with God. Enoch walked with God in the wicked world, before the Flood came; he was able to keep his life pure. Enoch was taken to heaven one day (“translated” =“carried across”) and seen no more. Abel died a violent death, but Enoch never died. God has a different plan for each one who trusts Him.Enoch= A Faith that walks.A Faith that Works- Noah Hebrews 11:7 ESV7 By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.Noah’s faith involved his mind, his heart, and his will.His mind beleived what God warnedHis heart was moved with fear at what God said.And his will performed what God required.His faith must have gained interest… No one had seen a flood up to this point… perhaps not even a rain storm.... and there is Noah building a houseboat.Noah’s faith saved his family. His faith revealed the consequences of unbelief.A Faith That WorksA Faith that Waits Hebrews 11:8–12 ESVBy faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.The call of Abraham… God promised Abraham and Sarah a son, but they had to wait twenty-five years for the fulfillment of the promise. Genesis 15:5 ESVAnd he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”they waited 25 years for Isaac Genesis 22:17 ESVI will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies,Sarah was promised a son and Isaac arrivedAbraham was promised a homeland even though he was a wandering nomad with no fixed home. Aside from a grave that he purchased, Abraham never got the promised land. He died waiting for something he hadn’t seenIsaac has Jacob and EsauJacob provides the 12 sons...Joseph saves the nation in the land of Egypt...moses saves the nation from the land of Egypt...and Abraham still never saw the promised land.A Faith That Waits. Hebrews 11:13–16 ESVThese all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.
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