Drinking Deeply

Wednesday, September 20, 2006 at 8:55 PM

A few thoughts on faith

God graciously gave me the opportunity to share briefly with the junior high kids (15-20 minutes) one week. I decided to read to them Hebrews 11 and talk a little about faith (certainly can't make a whole sermon in 20 minutes, but I can try! =p).

There is so much in that passage. But here are some isolated thoughts.
1Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Faith is an assurance. A confidence. A certainty. Properly rooted, it's grounded in a solid Rock. It works (at times) apart from sight. It looks stupid to some people! All they believe is what they see. But we believe what they see, and what is holding that together as well.
2For by it the people of old received their commendation.
It's by faith (or maybe "through faith") that the people received their commendation. Even though they had done so much it wasn't their actions (the fruit of their faith) as much as it was the faith itself.
6And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
Faith is necessary for anything to be "good" or "right" in any sense of the Word. Life is lived not relative to one another, not relative to your posessions, but relative to God. And a life lived without faith is a life lived without God. All you're going to get (without faith) is what you get in this life. Scary!
13These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.
Faith has a cost for some. Not seeing those treasures in this life, but looking forward to the greatest treasure of all, God Himself. People who live by faith are aliens, strangers, and exiles. We're no longer looking for this world, but the world to come. People who lived by faith were often ridiculed and mocked, frowned upon, but they condemned the world and sought a better country. Faith will have its cost.
32And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets-- 33who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. 36Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37They were stoned, they were sawn in two,[a] they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated-- 38of whom the world was not worthy--wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
Faith can result in power. God uses men of great faith to work great things for His kingdom and His glory. They moved mountains and conquered kingdoms.

But faith can also result in persecution. People are flogged, killed, stoned, sawn in two, mocked, all because of the message they brought, the countercultural life they lived.

Yet these were all people "of whom the world was not worthy." They lived their lives looking for the life that's to come, where this world is counted rubbish in comparison.

But with all of that, faith comes with the surpassing treasure of Heaven, of true joy and delight, of the greatness of the glory of God and worship. That's what we are called to live for and die for. Soli Deo Gloria

Hebrews 12:1-3
1Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

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