By Chuck Williams
Pastor, First Baptist Church, Covington
Focal Passage: Hebrews 11:1-7
I have five children; therefore I have lots of stories! One of my kids went through a romance break-up. I asked what problem caused this. The answer quickly came, “I could never do enough to please them plus I never felt like I measured up.”
Sadly this is how many Christians feel when it comes to their relationship with God. “I can’t do enough to please Him and I never measure up to His standards.” Yet there is a specific verse that talks about what pleases God — faith! The best way to get a migraine is to try and please everyone. Have you noticed that even God does not please everyone? We can please God by sitting back and having believing faith. Too many take faith to be an option for their life. This would be similar to buying a new car and the salesman asks, “So, what options are you interested in?” With the Lord faith is not optional. All of our life and its decisions are to be built on faith.
In Hebrews 11:1-7 the author gives the roll call of the heroes of faith.
(1) The nature of their faith. These heroes had assurance and convictions. The word “reality” in verse one means to stand under something as it is supported. In the first century it was used of a document similar to our modern day title deed. Therefore when faith is solid it stands under every situation and supports with assurance.
Faith also relates to the future. We often say “what if” and then plunge into worry. This destroys faith. Faith prepares us for the adventure of trusting God rather than plunging into fear.
(2) We see the foundation of faith (v. 3). Seeing the unseen in verse 3 shows what controls the faithful believer. Faith gets his attention. It renews his energy. It forms his habits. Faith directs his love and emotions. It makes a testimony in a life that the world is hungry to hear.
(3) The roll call of faith. Abel’s sacrifice was received and Cain’s was rejected. Why? Was Cain wrong to bring a harvest offering? While we don’t know the answer on the substance we can see that Cain’s rejection was the lack of faith with which he brought it. Abel’s heart was tuned in faith towards the Lord. Hebrews indicates that God regarded Abel’s offering as that of a righteous man.
Enoch walked in so much faith that he walked right on into heaven. Many have speculated that Enoch also was an end-times prophet in Noah’s day. Jude indicates that Enoch was mighty in faith and passion for the Lord. He was faithful in a time of great wickedness.
Noah exercised faith when everyone else was faithless. Imagine the peer pressure he and his family felt. His faithful preaching not only warned the wicked world but condemned it because no one could say they had not been warned. Noah had no evidence to show the world that the flood was coming. Nothing like it had ever happened before or since. It was simply that God informed him and he was obedient in faith.
These and more in Hebrews 11 pleased God by their mighty faith. Faith will not be operative in our lives until we take things seriously. Faith says, “I will not quit, give up or deny my Lord. I will believe what the Lord says in His Word on a daily basis. My daily thoughts will be that His presence and promises are real today as they were for Abel, Enoch, and Noah.”