Faith Facts (Hebrews 11:1-6)
“Faith is the victory! Faith is the victory! O glorious victory That overcomes the world.” 1 John 5:4. Faith does allow us to overcome the struggles we face in life.
Because faith allows us to overcome, we need to understand faith.
The Hebrew Christians also needed to understand faith. They had suffered many tribulations (Heb 10:32-34). They needed to endure (Heb 10:36). As part of enduring, they needed to understand that “the just shall live by faith” (Heb 10:37). If these Christians were to live by faith, they needed to understand faith.
Factual, v 1
Faith is the substance of things hoped for. “Substance” literally means “foundation.” The idea is that the things in which we hope are firm; they are real.
Faith is the evidence of things not seen. “Evidence” means “conviction.” Faith allows us to be convicted that things we have never seen exist.
Faith is not a leap in the dark. Many want us to believe that “faith” is just hoping things exist which really don’t. One man even said that faith is “belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge of things without parallel.”
True faith is open to examination and rests on facts.
- Luke 1:3-4. “Having had perfect understanding” carries the idea of “investigating everything carefully.” Like investigated the things he had heard about Jesus.
- 2 Peter 1:16. The apostles did not teach myths. They had seen what had happened and they taught facts.
The Christian faith rests upon historically verifiable evidence-it has substance and conviction.
Favorable, v 2
The elders received a good testimony through faith. “Elders” means “forefathers” or “ancestors.” “Good testimony” means that God was pleased with their lives. The author discusses many Old Testament characters in this chapter-He even runs out of space and can’t discuss all the “heroes of faith” (Heb 11:32).
If we have faith, God will be pleased with our lives. Jesus healed the centurion’s servant because of the centurion’s faith (Matt 8:13). God will save us if we have faith (Mk 16:16; Eph 2:8). Are we receiving a good testimony because of our faith?
Fathomable, v 3
By faith we understand how the worlds were made:
- By the word of God. Everything which exists was spoken into existence by God. Throughout Genesis 1, we find the phrase “God said.”
- The world was made from things invisible. This world has not always existed. The “word of God” which is invisible brought this world into existence.
God has told us how this world was created, and we can accept that through faith.
Fulfilling, v 6
Unless one has faith, he cannot please God. He must believe:
- That God is. Unless one believes that God exists, he isn’t going to come to God. This person might could go through all the motions, but he isn’t going to please God.
- That God rewards those who diligently seek him. One cannot merely believe that God exists. He must also believe that God is good and blesses those who obey.
When we come to God, we must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek his will.
Faith is not optional in Christianity. The apostles had to have faith before they could do miracles (Mk 11:22-23). The work of God is to believe in Jesus (Jn 6:28-29).
Faith will give us victory as we face life’s battles, but without faith we cannot have victory. The faith described in Hebrews 11 caused individuals to act.
Have you acted on your faith?
This sermon was originally preached by Dr. Justin Imel, Sr., at the Owingsville church of Christ in Owingsville, Kentucky.