I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing
Hebrews 11:1-7 New King James Version (NKJV)
3 By faith we understand that the [c]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.
The essence of faith- the writer defines for us what saving faith entails:
Back up to v. 38 “the just shall live by faith: but if any man draws back my soul shall have no pleasure in him”
This fundamental principle is affirmed four times in Scripture: it is an OT principle spoken by Habakkuk in 2:4; Romans 1:17; Gal 3:11 and again in Hebrews. FAITH is not a new principle but what has always drawn men into relationship with God. Faith governs our relationship to God and our participation in the salvation provided through Jesus. “By grace are you saved THROUGH faith.” It is our faith that participates with God’s grace to bring salvation. The person who perseveres in faith will receive what God promises; the person who shrinks back does so to his own destruction.
Greek pistis– moral conviction of religious truth or truthfulness; from the root word peitho (pi-tho) to assent to evidence or authority by reliance on, have confidence in, trust, yield, obey.
By this definition, faith is an active and ongoing, present force, it is not a passive past belief. This chapter on faith demonstrates that faith is trust in God through all circumstances, which enables the believer to persevere and remain steadfastly loyal to God and His Word at all times.
Faith believes in spiritual realities: read v.1 “the evidence of things not seen”
Romans 8:24-25 New King James Version (NKJV)
24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.
Faith is trusting in God’s Word, when we cannot see the outcome. “God said it. I believe it. That settles it.” It does not take faith to believe that pine trees are green. I can see that pine trees are green. It takes faith to believe the words of Scripture that proclaim God to be my Healer, even when I do not experience healing; He is my Provider, even when I do not have an income, He is my Deliverer, even when I am sitting behind bars.
Faith was the distinguishing characteristic of the OT saints: read v.2
This quality of faith was it by which the Old Testament saints were distinguished, and on that account became objects of God’s favor and witnesses to Him as being accepted by Him.
It is by faith in God and His Word that we please God. NOT a NT principle
Through faith we have understanding: read v.3 we were not there when the world was formed, but by faith we understand that it was void and God spoke the world into existence from nothing
We understand or obtain knowledge in two basic ways: 1. physical senses and natural reasoning; 2. Knowledge about God and the spiritual realm that happens first at the spiritual level through revelation of God’s Word and is understood “through faith”.
The natural mind cannot understand the things of God:
1 Corinthians 2:12-14 New King James Version (NKJV)
12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.
13 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the [a]Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
This includes creation; only a renewed mind can comprehend such things. Thus, the testimony of God’s Word is intrinsic to faith.
Genesis 1:1-3 New King James Version (NKJV)
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form, and void; and darkness [a]was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.
There are three men listed selected for special mention in the time period from creation to the flood:
Abel- he is commended as a true worshipper of God, a righteous man, and a testimony as the first martyr
Enoch- walked with God in intimacy and was translated to another realm without dying
Noah- believed God’s Word about the future and risked his life and reputation, moved with fear, to build a boat before rain was even known about.
Our offering and worship of God is only by faith. Read v.4
By reason of his faith (or because he had faith) Abel offered to God a greater sacrifice than Cain; i.e. the faith of Abel, which was lacking in Cain, was the cause that Abel’s sacrifice had greater value than that of Cain. In the case of Abel, the excellence of faith was illustrated in two particulars, it prompted him to offer a richer, more acceptable offering, and it found for him a place in God’s regard even after his death.
There is a lot of discussion surrounding why Abel’s offering was accepted over Cain’s, by the writer of Hebrews makes it clear that Abel brought his offering to God in faith.
Faith is way more than just a “belief in God”, it is total reliance on the blood sacrifice of Jesus and a yielding to Him as Lord as you obey His commands. This is the totality of faith.
You can bring an offering to God, you can worship God, you can serve people; but if you are lacking in Biblical faith then your offering falls in the same category as Cain’s- unaccepted.
Romans 14:23 New King James Version (NKJV)
23 But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is [a]sin.
Next, we have Enoch. Read v.5
Enoch walked with God, and therefore is said to please Him; that is, he set God always before him, and thought, spoke, and acted as one that considered he was always under God’s eye, and he made it his daily business to worship and serve him acceptably.
By faith Enoch was translated – The account of Enoch is found in Genesis 5:21-24. It is very brief, and is this, that “Enoch walked with God, and was not, for God took him.”
In the account in Genesis, there is nothing inconsistent with the belief that Enoch was characterized by eminent faith, but it is rather implied in the expression, “he walked with God.”
2 Corinthians 5:7 New King James Version (NKJV)
7 For we walk by faith, not by sight.
Jude 14-15 New King James Version (NKJV)
14 Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, 15 to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”
From this it would appear that Enoch was a preacher: that he predicted the coming of the Lord to judgment, and that he lived in the firm belief of what was to occur in future times.
The word, “translated” that Moses’ account of Enoch uses, would naturally suggest the idea that he had been taken by God to himself, or had been removed in an extraordinary manner from the earth.
he “walked with God.” This denotes a state of friendship between God and him, and of course implies that his conduct was pleasing to God. The age in which he lived was undoubtedly one of great wickedness. Enoch is selected as the only one of that generation that he pleased God, and he appears to have spent his life in publicly reproving a sinful generation, and in warning them of the approaching judgment. The wickedness which ultimately led to the universal flood seems already to have commenced in the earth, and Enoch, like Noah, his great-grandson, was raised up as a preacher of righteousness to reprove a sinful generation.
Are you walking with God like Enoch?
1 Thessalonians 4 New King James Version (NKJV)
4 Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God; 2 for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus.
3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. 7 For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. 8 Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who[a] has also given us His Holy Spirit.
Noah — read v. 7 The third person mentioned in Scripture, to whom testimony was given that he was righteous; and therefore, the apostle brings him forward as a third example of the power and effectiveness of faith.
Being warned of God of things not seen as yet — That is, not only as future events that would take place, but of such a nature that no one had ever seen or heard of anything like them, namely, the dissolution of the world by a flood, and the destruction of all its inhabitants; yet this Word Noah received by faith.
A command which had two parts; the first, a declaration of the purpose of God to destroy the whole world; the second, a direction respecting the steps which Noah was to take for the preservation of his family from the impending ruin. It had a two-fold effect on Noah: 1. Fear and 2. Obedience in building the ark, according to God’s direction. Noah was moved with fear — a religious, reverential, and awful fear; Noah prepared an ark — amidst many insults of profane and wicked men, the preparing of such a vessel, being a new thing on the earth, and could not be built without immense labor and cost; to the saving of his house.
The application of this example of Noah to these scattered Hebrew believers was highly proper and reasonable; for they stood now on their time of testing, whether they would be influenced by faith and endure or fall away in unbelief.
2 Peter 2:4-5 New King James Version (NKJV)
4 For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to [a]hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; 5 and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly;
During the time in which the ark was building, Noah was a preacher of righteousness to the people of that generation, calling them to repentance, and warning them of approaching destruction, if they remained impenitent; which we know of course that they refused to repent and get aboard the Ark.
Noah became heir — A partaker of; the righteousness which is by faith — And entitled to the rewards in a future and eternal world, of which his temporal deliverance through the Ark, though so amazing, was only an emblem. “The faith of Noah is proposed for our imitation, to assure us that they who believe and obey God shall be safe in the midst of a fallen world, while the wicked shall be condemned and destroyed.”
We see another example of faith and obedience working in conjunction. Faith and obedience are inseparable- This example of Noah displays that a faith if not coupled with the fear of the Lord (a fear that if I do not obey Him, I will suffer punishment) is not saving faith.
Read v. 6 without this kind of faith, a faith that yields to God as Lord and Savior, a faith that is moved with fear to obey, a faith that believes that God is and what He says is true, that He will do what He said He would do…… we cannot please God. It is impossible to please God aside from this kind of faith.
But without faith it is impossible to please him,…. Or do things well pleasing in his sight; or any of the duties of religious service, in an acceptable way; as prayer, praise, attendance on the word and ordinances, or any good works whatever; because such that operate outside this faith are without Christ, and without his Spirit; and have neither right principles, nor right motives
for he that comes to God; to the throne of, his grace, to pray unto Him, to implore his grace and mercy, help and assistance; to the house of God, to worship, and serve him, and in order to enjoy his presence, and have communion with him; which coming ought to be spiritual and with a clean hands and a pure heart; and must be through Christ, and by faith
must believe that he is; or exists, NOT believe in his existence, “for the demons believe in God and tremble” but believe in God, as it is revealed in the Word: he must believe in the Godhead; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and that God the Father is to be approached unto, through Christ the Mediator, by the guidance and assistance of the Holy Spirit: and he must believe in the Biblical charcater of God; that he is omniscient, omnipotent, and can do for us beyond our thoughts and petitions; that
HE is all sufficient, and that his grace is sufficient for us; that he is immutable, in his purposes and covenant; that he is true and faithful to his promises; and is the God of grace, love, and mercy: and we must believe in Him, not only as the God of all creation, but as our covenant God and Father.
v.6 “He is a rewarder” this word in the Greek means to pay wages for services, good or bad. He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him with their whole hearts, and above all things else: and, of such, God is a rewarder to such who seek Him with Himself, HE is our exceeding great reward.
The author of Hebrews confirms his doctrine respecting the necessity and effectiveness of true saving faith, and proves to these Hebrews, that if they did not persevere, it was because of their unbelief, seeing that true faith would certainly render them steadfast in their adherence to it, whatever difficulties they should have to encounter.
James 1:2-8 New King James Version (NKJV)
2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces [a]patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be [b]perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
Saving faith is a life of day in and day out consistency, it is walking without fainting v.36 “for you have need of endurance, so after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise”
One of the biggest traps we fall into is the belief that if we have faith, God will surely lead us to success in the world. Do not fall into the snares and lies of the enemy, Our reward is God Himself and one day by faith we will be translated into His kingdom.
Our faith will be tested and tried. We are coming into a season where the church will experience the greatest persecution in all of history. The Bible proclaims it. I believe what the Bible says.
Saving Faith is not double-minded- Greek meaning, “two-spirits”. People are watching you to see how you are responding to the events going in the world. They watch how we respond to confusion and chaos. Are you responding in faith? Or fear?
Jesus is the head of the church- not the government, not health care and not the media pushing fear of a virus that has a 99.7% survival rate.
James 1:12 New King James Version (NKJV)
12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
Faith is not a one-time confession, but an active and ongoing believing and obeying the Lord.
By faith, I follow the Lord, I know His voice and I obey His Word.
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