"The Facts About Faith!"
Hebrews 11: 1-6
Pastor Steve N. Wagers

Sermon Outline

1. Faith DEMONSTRATED!
    A. It 's Present Reality!
    B. It 's Produced Reaction!
    C. It 's Powerful Resource!
    D. It 's Perfect Rest!
    E. It 's Persistent Reliance!

2. Faith MOTIVATED!
    A. The Pleasure that it Brings to God!
    B. The Power that it Bestows on Man!

3. Faith ILLUSTRATED!
    A. Classic Illustrations!
    B. Common Illustrations!
 

1. Martin Luther said:
"Faith sees the invisible, believes the incredible and receives the impossible. Then, it accepts the impossible, does without the indispensable and bears the intolerable."

2. Henry David Thoreau said:
"If I seem to walk out of step with others, it is because I am listening to another drum-beat!"

3. C. H. Spurgeon spoke volumes when he said:
"A little faith will take your soul to heaven; but, a great faith with bring heaven to your soul!"

4. The Baseball Hall of Fame is in Cooperstown, New York. The Football Hall of Fame is in Canton, Ohio. The Cowboy Hall of Fame is in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The Faith Hall of Fame is in
Hebrews 11.

5. Hebrews 11 has been aptly referred to as 'The Westminster Abbey of Scripture." It is a
shrine filled with the names, and lives of triumphant people who lived lives of faith. In so doing,
the writer of Hebrews gives us great examples to follow as we embark, and endeavor to live the
life of faith.

6. We are going to take the next several weeks to look at the 'faith factor' revealed in
Hebrews 11. Tonight, however, I simply want to give you an overview of this chapter, as well
as a idea of the type of faith that moves mountains.
 

1. Faith DEMONSTRATED!

We must distinguish between the words "faith" and "the faith." "The faith" speaks of the
object of our belief. It is described in Jude 3, "Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write to you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write to you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints."

However, the word "faith," mentioned in our text, speaks of the project of our belief.
The faith refers to what we believe; 'faith' refers to how we believe.

The word "faith" is used more than 300 times in the New Testament. Volumes have been
written about faith, and more will be written about faith. However, the Bible does not so
much seek to define faith as it does to direct faith.

In Hebrews 11: 1, we find the only concise definition of faith, and the writer lists 5
ingredients of how Bible-believing and Bible-behaving is to be demonstrated .

A. It's PRESENT REALITY!

1. The verse reads, "Now faith IS." In other words, faith is not something that is going to be done in the future, it is something that is being done in the present. it does not lean on the past, nor look to the future, but it lives in the present.

2. You will remember the story of Lazarus in John 11. After Lazarus died, Jesus appears 4
days later to find that Martha's heart is filled with unbelief. She says to Jesus, "if thou hast
been here my brother would not have died." She believed in the past.

3. Jesus sought to console her by reminding her that her brother would rise again, to which
Martha replied, "I know that he shall live in the resurrection at the last day." She believed in
the future.

4. Thus, Jesus declares to Martha, "Martha, I AM the resurrection and the life." He was
directing her faith to the present.

5. God has no past or future. He always has been, and always will be. Thus, since He is the
"author and finisher of our faith," He is the I AM! Our faith can exist right now, in the present
reality of who He is.

B. It's PRODUCED REACTION!

1. Faith is not something that we can produce, but it is something that we can practice. Faith is
a gift which is produced by God, in God. Thus, if faith is something that you profess, it will be
something that you practice.

2. We read in James 2: 17, "Even so faith, if it hath not works is dead." James was advocating a salvation by works, but a salvation that works! Once faith is produced in us, faith will be
practiced by us.

C. It's POWERFUL RESOURCE!

1. Our text reads, "Now faith is the substance." The word "substance" speaks of "standing under something." In other words, faith is what stands under a man, or that, upon which, a man stands.

2. We cannot stand on our feelings, because feelings may come and go. We cannot
necessarily stand on our faith, because there are times when our faith may weaken. However,
we can stand, by faith, on facts.

3. There is a song that the old-timers used to sing called, "God said it, I believe, and That
Settles It!" The truth of the matter is that it doesn't matter if I believe it or not. If God did it, or
God said it, then that settles it. End of discussion!

4. Again, in order for our faith to line up with what the Bible calls faith, it must have a valid
content. In other words, there must be something which faith lays hold of, and holds on to.

5. Many today simply have "faith in faith." Their faith rests in the fact that they have faith.
There is no substance, no source and no standard to their faith. Some say, "Just believe, and
you will receive." That may be the truth, but it is not the whole truth.

6. The question I would ask, would be, "What are you believing in?" "Is it something which has been conjured up in your own mind, or is it something God has said in His Word?"

7. The substance of our faith is the Word of God. If God said it, it the substance that stands
under us; as well as, the substance that we can stand upon.

D. It's PERFECT REST!

1. The verse continues, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for" The word "hope" doesn't speak of a positive attitude, or of a hoping for the best. Rather, the word describes a confident expectation in that which is to come.

2. What is our hope? It is the Lord Jesus Christ. Without Him there is no hope; but, with Him
there is an eternity of hope. We can rest in Him who is our hope!

E. It's PERSISTENT RELIANCE!

1. We read, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

2. Faith is not based upon that which we can see, but that which we cannot see. It clings to the
invisible, not the visible. It is believing the word of another, and accepting what we cannot see,
explain, understand, or reason as valid.

3. We read in Romans 8: 24-25, "For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it."

4. If we could see everything, know everything, understand everything, explain everything, or
reason everything, we would have no need of faith, or of God.

5. It has been said that only man comprehends what he cannot see and believes what he
cannot comprehend. Much of what we comprehend we cannot see: atoms, germs, love, hate,
loyalty, sacrifice. He who lives by sight lives poorly indeed. Faith is learning to live by insight
rather than by sight.

6. Thus, our faith is not based upon human reason, logic or understanding. Our faith is based
upon the fact that we trust the speaker who has given us His Word.
 

2. Faith MOTIVATED!

1. What motivates us to believe, and have faith? A better question might be, why is faith so
important to us, as well as to God. We find the answer to that question in verse 6, "But without
faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."

2. Faith is importance because of:

A. The PLEASURE it BRINGS to God!

1. The writer leaves no doubt as to the avenue we must travel in order to please God. Faith is
the key which unlocks the door of God's power, God's purpose and God's pleasure.

2. The writer seems to suggest that it matters not what else we may attempt to do for God, if it
is "without faith," it will not please Him. Someone has said, "If I do not trust Him, then I cannot
please Him!"

B. The POWER it BESTOWS on Man!

1. Bible-believing and Bible-behaving faith bestows great power in our lives. We read of
countless stories, and statements in the Word of God to energize our faith. )C. p. Matthew 21:2}

"Jesus answered and said to them, Verily I say to you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig-tree, but also, if ye shall say to this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done." {C. p. Mark 11:22}

"Have faith in God." {C. p. Romans 1:17}
"For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith."

{C. p. Romans 5:2}
"By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God."

{C. p. 1 Corinthians 2:5}
"That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God."

{C. p. 2 Corinthians 5:7}
For we walk by faith, not by sight."

{C. p. 1 John 5: 4}
"For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith."

2. Faith that moves mountains is the faith that moves the maker of the mountains. I have heard
people say that "Faith works." However, I would alter that statement to say that "God Works!"
But, faith is the permission slip that gives God the right to work!
 

3. Faith ILLUSTRATED!

1. In the following verses of Hebrews 11, the writer lists 17 examples of how faith was put into
operation in the lives of saints of God throughout Bible history. Some names are merely
mentioned; yet, other names are given with great detail to illustrate their lives of faith to us. In
fact, from verses 5-40, we find:

A. CLASSIC Illustrations!

1. We find a man named Able, and a faith that saves. We see Enoch, and a faith that
sustains. We see Noah, and a faith that surrenders. We see Abraham and Sarah, and a faith
that satisfies.

2. We find Isaac, and a faith that suffers. We see Jacob, and a faith that strengthens. We see
Joseph, and a faith that surpasses. We see Moses, and a faith that separates. We see Rahab,
and a faith that solidifies. And, we see people such as Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephtath,
David, Samuel, the prophets, and "others;" and, we find a faith that serves. These are classic
Bible illustrations of faith.

B. COMMON Illustrations!

1. One of the most encouraging things to my heart, as I consider these great men and women
of faith, is the fact that these were common, ordinary people like you and I.

2. These were men and women who served God when it was popular, as well as unpopular.
These were people who stood for God when it was received, and when it was rejected. These
were brothers and sisters who exercised faith when they had no other alternative. Yet, they all
did in the confines of their normal, everyday life.

3. They encourage us, by their examples, to "keep on, keeping on!" They serve as "a great
cloud of witnesses," or as cheerleaders to pull for us as we take our journey of faith.

4. As we study their lives, we will see that these were not perfect people, by any means.
Rather, they were imperfect people who had failed and fallen, yet God honors their lives of faith.

5. When Michael Faraday, the great English physicist, was dying, friends gathered at his
bedside. As was often the case in the nineteenth century, they sought some final words from the
dying man. "What are your speculations?" they asked. His answer was firm: "Speculations! I
have none. I am resting on certainties."

6. Andrew Johnson succeeded Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States and
inherited the thankless task of reconstruction after the Civil War. He was often the object of
severe criticism and even of ridicule. Few chief executives have known such stormy days in the
White House, and there was even an effort to have him impeached. Against that background we
can appreciate more fully the words on his tombstone at Greeneville, Tennessee: "His Faith in
the People Never Wavered."

7. That's a fine tribute but there is one finer. To have these words written on the stone above
one's grave: "His Faith in God Never Wavered." May God not only increase our faith; but, may
God He increase Himself in our hearts to lay hold of who He is, what He has said, and what He
can do.