Sermon Prepared by James McCullen
Email Preach Him with Dr. Jim

Three Stages of Faith
Heb 11:1-6 (focus on verse 6)
1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. 3 By faith we understand that the 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. NKJV

Introduction:
Did you remember we can not please God without faith? Some think theyt can do good works apart from faith and God will be pleased. But our text tells clearly what God requires. I want to share today about three stages of faith.



1. The First Stage of Faith. v 6a 


But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, . . . "

A. The . . Defining of Faith.

       1.     Heb.11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
       2.     Faith Believes something is so when it is not so in order for it to become so.
        3.    Mark 11:24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you
                 will have them.

B. The . . Demonstration of Faith.

        1.    The Life of Noah. Heb. 11:7              
                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.
                 KJV

Illustration
Noah built an ark before the flood. He probably received all kinds of criticism fro people. But he believed God told him to build the ark. Many would say it had never rained before. If that is true No one had ever seen a flood before.

He had to believe something was coming that he had never seen before.

Application

Faith is believing something is so When it is not so

In order for it to become so.




2. The . . Second Stage of Faith. v 6 b


        ". . . and that He is a rewarder . . . "

A. Belief that God Himself is a Reward.

        1. Gen 15:1 After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, "Do not be afraid, Abram.
            I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward." NKJV

         2. Ps 58:11 So that men will say, "Surely there is a reward for the righteous; Surely He is God who judges in the earth."
             NKJV

B. Belief that God Rewards His Children.
            

        1. Matt 5:12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets
            who were before you. NKJV

          2. Matt 6:1 "Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have
             no reward from your Father in heaven. NKJV

         3. Heb 11:25-26 25 choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin,
             26 esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.

Illustration These are examples of people who believed God rewards faith.

1.    Moses rejected the position given to him by Pharaoh. He believed God had greater rewards for him.

2. Mary the mother of Jesus believed she would bear the Christ child. What a reward and honor for a lady.

3.  Paul the Persecuted of Christians became the Persuader to Christianity

Application



3. The . . Third Stage of Faith. v 6 c


        ". . . of those who diligently seek Him."

Introduction: Reject the Rejection

In 1894 the teacher wrote on a boys report card a conspicuous lack of success. Winston Churchhill he Rejected their Rejection.

In 1902 The Atlantic Monthly rejected a sheaf of poems as being written by a 28 year old poet named Robert Frost. He Rejected their rejection.

In 1905 the University of Bern turn down a Ph D Dissertation as being irrelevant and fanciful. The writer Albert Einstein Rejected the Rejection.

A. The . . Decision of Diligent Faith

Matt 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

Prov 3:5-7 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; . . . " NKJV

Ps 119:10 With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!

B. The . . Dedication of Diligent Faith

1 Chron 28:9 "As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing
mind; for the LORD searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever.

Ps 42:1-2 1 As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? NKJV

Jer 29:13-14 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, says the LORD, and I will bring you back.."

Illustration
A father had just put his young daughter to bed. He had just settled himself in the living room, when she called out from her bed, "Daddy, will you please bring me some MILK?" "No, Sally," said her Dad, "you've already HAD your milk!"  

A few minutes later she called out again: "Daddy, I want some MILK, please!" "No, Sally," said her father, "I'm busy now. Go to sleep and don't call me again!" Her father thought that should settle the matter. However, not two minutes later, Sally called AGAIN: "Daddy, PLEASE bring me some MILK!"  

"Now listen, Sally," said her father, "if you aren't quiet, I'm going to come and give you a SPANKING!" There was a short silence. Then Sally called out: "Daddy, when you come to give me a SPANKING, will you please bring me some MILK?"

Application

F Forsaking

A All

I I

T Take

H Him