Faith for GreaterMarch 28, 2021 / New City Church
‘Faith For Greater’
Pt. 8 ‘Hebrews 10:19-11:40’ CFC 03.25.21
Hebrews 10:23-24 NLT
Hebrews 10:26-27 NLT
Hebrews 11:1-2 NLT
Faith for Hebrews is always closely linked to hope. Faith is looking at God and trusting him for everything, while hope is looking at the future and trusting God for it.
It’s one thing to have hope, but when you have faith under it, it gives it assurance. A guarantee, a covenant.
Kind of like working out. I just got a membership to a gym. I know it’s the end of March and typically you do this at the start of the year but I want to look good for my beautiful soon to be bride. Now how far am I going to get if I just hope that I tone up my muscles? If I just think really hard about it, is it going to change anything? No.
You can hope for a bodily life beyond the grave, but until you believe in the God who raised Jesus, my hope may fade away just into mere optimism.
This is our Big Picture.
So faith is both our inward and outward response to God’s promises
For the rest of the chapter we get different examples of faith from both men and women. We’ll see the faith each person had in their inward and the outward responses to God’s promises. It’s such a great service to us that the writer includes this portion because it is widely referenced as the Hall of Faith.
Each sport has its own hall of fame, basketball has the what?…Naismith Hall of Fame. [Picture]
The NFL has the…. Pro Football Hall of Fame. [Picture]
Every college and high school team has its own hall of fame. The term Hall of Fame came to be because the Hall of Fame to Great Americans, founded by Henry Mitchell MacCracken. It was an outdoor public place that had busts of important people in American history. [Pictures]
The writer uses various examples from the Old Testament that the audience would certainly know to encourage us to keep the faith. In this first section take note of the similarities.
4 “It was by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God than Cain did. Abel’s offering gave evidence that he was a righteous man, and God showed his approval of his gifts. Although Abel is long dead, he still speaks to us by his example of faith.
5 It was by faith that Enoch was taken up to heaven without dying—“he disappeared, because God took him.” For before he was taken up, he was known as a person who pleased God.
6 And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.
7 It was by faith that Noah built a large boat to save his family from the flood. He obeyed God, who warned him about things that had never happened before. By his faith Noah condemned the rest of the world, and he received the righteousness that comes by faith.” Hebrews 11:4-7 NLT
So what did these men and as we see in later passages women have in common? They each were accepted by God because of their faith and God counted them as righteous because of their faith.
By faith, God accepts us. He makes us righteous.
Now I’ve got bad news and good news, what do you wanna hear first?
Bad news: Not one ounce of our own power will make us right with God. Literally nothing. Not working really hard, not doing a lot of really nice stuff, nothing.
Good news: Not one ounce of our own power will make us right with God. There is no scale of bad things we’ve done vs. good things. The bad will always outweigh the good. But it is God who makes us right. Not ourselves. [Scale prop]
This is an inward response to God’s promises. We put our faith in him and he makes us righteous.
Let’s keep going…
8 It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going.
11 It was by faith that even Sarah was able to have a child, though she was barren and was too old. She believed that God would keep his promise.
12 And so a whole nation came from this one man who was as good as dead—a nation with so many people that, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore, there is no way to count them. Hebrews 11:8, 11-13 NLT
[Picture of Hubble Deep Field]
I’ve always loved science since I was a kid. I remember the book fairs I’d always ask for some book on science. Was always fascinated by the size of the Universe. (Explain Hubble Deep Field and zoom in). Look at all the stars!
The same God that created the universe, Earth, the stars, the celestial bodies; promises Abraham with this same imagery of creation that his family will be like the same.
In studying for this I found this amazing quote by theologian NT Wright who said,
It isn’t just that Abraham and Sarah thought they heard a strange being speaking to them and decided to believe it, but rather that the God they came to know was the creator God, the absolutely trustworthy one, the one who could give life where there was none. (NT Wright)
It was by this very same faith, that Abraham and Sarah obeyed. They heard from God, and put their faith to action.
So this brings me to my second point, faith is anchored to obedient action.
This was an outward response to God’s promises. God called them to obedience and they obeyed because of the faith they had in him.
Still with me? Ok, we’re going further in the passage. Thanks for keeping up!
13 “All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. Hebrews 11:13
Now the rest of the passage recounts the stories of the Old Testament heroes and heroines of faith, it talks about Joseph the dreamer, Moses who led his people out of Egypt, Rahab who was a prostitute but because of her faith was counted as righteous and became a part of the lineage of Jesus.
32 How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets.
33 By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, Hebrews 11:32-33 NLT
Women received their loved ones back again from death. But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection.
Hebrews 11:35 NLT
It goes on further to say these men and women were jeered at, backs were cut open with whips, sawed in two, stoned, you name it.
All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. Hebrews 11:39 NLT
This is my third point. Faith keeps its eye on the promise no matter the circumstance, because of that we are victorious.
I don’t know all that you have going on in your lives, but I know everyone in this room has faced hardships, or are going through one now or tomorrow. We don’t always talk much on suffering for the Gospel, but the Bible says we should expect it.
If our inward and outward response to God’s promises looks to the future, unafraid of the present, then we will not fail.
Now some may say, I have doubts. How can I have faith with these doubts? Can I tell you not one person in this room has not had doubts. One of the most impactful messages I’ve ever heard was from Pastor Steven Furtick in Elevation Church.
He said, “the triumph of my faith is not the absence of doubt. The triumph of my faith is the ability for the light to shine in the deepest, darkest recesses of my heart. I have doubts but I trust Him anyway.” (Steven Furtick)
So my question for you today is. What do you need to trust God for? Under your seats, you have prayer cards. Write that down on the card, as AOP comes up to worship and drop that in the bin at the tables here in the front.
This Wednesday, we’re going to have a night of prayer and we’re going to pray over these things as a church. I encourage you to come out, I’m trusting God that it’s going to be a very impactful night.