If you prove it to me, I'll believe. Show me in black and white how it can be done and you'll get my vote. Many times I have heard those kinds of statements. But those suggest that faith is not proof and perhaps, not needed. Today I want to examine the statement about faith in our text. I want you to apply this sermon to the :Faith Mission Pledge Card." Today believe God to give you more than you know can happen because:
I. Faith is Assurance. v 1 a
The majority of Bible translations translate the first five verses of this chapter almost the same. The difference comes in the translation of the 5th word. Some say 'assurance' and some say 'substance'. Faith is substance or assurance. Hoe much faith a person has might be measured by the substance or assurance present in their Christian life style.
The Greek word translated assurance or evidence, has an interesting etymology (history of words). It is the word HUPOSTASIS. In the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament there are 17 pages given to the discussion of this word and its development over the centuries. I will list and relate the development. 1) Early Greek usages included the idea to stand under as support. Therefore, we could include the idea of support in our understanding of what faith is.
2) Early medical and scientific usage included a reference to that which settles or remains the residue which can be seen or which takes concrete shape. Therefore I would suggest that faith is that which remains when all else is gone. When tragedy comes and someone or something of value is taken away, your faith remains.
3) The word HUPOSTASIS then developed into a word of philosophy as it came to mean 'being which has attained reality' . Coming down to reality may be coming down to faith. This idea would certainly be true in the Christian idea of faith.
Ronnie Dunn, a minister based in Texas, experienced the tragedy of his oldest son committing suicide. A few months after his son's death, he spoke and said, "I've reached the bottom of my faith and found it's solid ground."
A rainbow represents the reality of moisture in the atmosphere. Assurance, substance or conviction represent the reality of faith.
4) In general use, the word came to mean a plan. This was evidence of the idea for a structure. It wasn't the original idea or the final structure, but the plan. Faith is God's plan for the Christian life.
Occasionally someone asks how will we do that, and the answer is given, 'by faith'. Many times that answer is not judged to be a good answer, but the Bible says faith is assurance and it can mean faith is a plan.
5) Special meanings developed in early days and HUPOSTASIS came to be used for a document for a tract of land or some property. HUPOSTASTIS was not the land or property but the record or the visible evidence that the owner had such property. When the Bible says Faith is assurance, it is relating that a person shows their assurance because they have faith, faith causes assurance.
6) Old Testament usages are found in the Greek translation called the Septuagint. Job 22:20 refers to immoveable property as opposed to moveable. Therefore we can suggest the assurance of faith is unmoveable. Judges 6:4 refers to substance for daily living. Ruth 1:12 refers to hope which would be a firm guarantee. The word is found in several Psalms and Ps. 139:15-17 related that David was known by God before he was born and in this case HUPOSTASIS means assurance of live before a physical form is seen. Faith is assurance that gives birth to a plan or program or thing before it can actually be seen. Today I am asking you to believe God will give you a certain amount of money to give to Foreign Missions ever before you have the money.
7) Usage in the New Testament is limited to 5 passages: 2 Cor, 9:4, 11:17, Heb. 1:3, 3:14 and 11:1. In the 2 Cor. passages the word is best translated confidence. In the Hebrew passages it is best translated reality. Faith is confidence, reality.
Now notice the phrase translated conviction in the NAB and evidence
in the KJV.
II. Faith is conviction. v 1 b
This English word comes from the Greek word ELEGCHOS. It doesn't have a detailed history, but is described in one half page of the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. It means 'proof with a view to convincing and refuting' therefore producing confidence. This word confirms and further establishes the many ideas of HUPOSTASIS.
Now since faith is assurance and confidence, what will you do with the opportunity to give to the Christmas Mission Offering? It is my opinion we ought to give no less than #3,000.00. If you know you can give $10.00, why don't you just trust God, by faith, to enable you to give you another $10.00. If you can give $50.00, why not trust God to enable you to give $100.00? This is an opportunity to demonstrate faith for a mission cause and add your name to the list of faith.
By faith Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses,
There is not a list in the Bible of people who moved to do great things, who waited until there was risk or until everything was seen in black and white. Faith says, "I'll move out because God told me too and I'll trust Him in the darkest night to see me through.
In Illinois, Mrs. Bradshaw lived on a pension, but she vowed, "As long as I live, Shiloh church will be alive and well. Mr. Weaver was a prosperous farmer and he attended Shiloh church. When Mrs. Bradshaw died, Mr. Weaver couldn't keep the church going. Why? On paper it would appear Mr. Weaver was better able to keep a church going than Mrs. Bradshaw. The difference was faith.
Today after you see on black and white the plan of salvation, you must
have faith before it can be a plan applied to you. You must express faith
that the Lord Jesus can and will save you. We urge you to do it today.
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And Beyond. Amen? Amen!