August 7, 2016

August 7th 2016

Let us pray: Dear Lord this morning we come to you in a search for faith.  Help us to see the path and explanation of faith that you lay through your word.  Help us to know the truth that this world is not all there is but that in your kingdom awaits a reality we can only dream of today.  Help me Lord to properly convey the word that you have prepared for this body.  A word that is not my word but your word; help all of us to see faith as a way we should walk and live our life.  All of this I pray in Jesus holy and precious name.                                                  Amen

This morning we will be looking at the subject of faith.  The word Faith is found 581 times in the New International Version of the Bible.  Now to pick one area of the Bible on a subject so broad as faith would be to do a dis-service to the subject.  So today I would like us to take a faith walk through the Bible.  Then I want to focus on one individual and show how he lived a life of faith.

We begin with Hebrews 11:1 A definition of faith, now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.   In the words of Augustine “What is faith, unless it is to believe what you cannot see.”  So both Hebrews and early Church fathers agree that believing the insubstantial to be substantial allows us to hold on to what is real not what is fleeting in this world.  Faith allows us to open ourselves to the world that is beyond sight and sound, one that is so beyond what we know is real as to make our existence in the words of CS Lewis a shadow of the true life with God.

In Romans 10: 17 we find faith is derived from the Word of God.  Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.  So where does faith come from?  Simply from the very word of God; when we hear God’s word we know the truth by hearing a message on the life of Christ.

Faith as we will see in Hebrews is about Faith’s demand, Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.  We need to seek God out with our full hearts.  We need to know that just as we are striving to know Him we also are being sought by Him.

We are given an example of the design of Faith by looking at 2 Corinthians 5:7;  For we live by faith, not by sight.  We cannot see the world around us and think this is everything.  Instead as people of faith we need to walk with a site not granted to everyone.

One that allows us to know God is in command.  We need to help others see that His teaching is one that will allow us to go on when others falter or fail.  To live by faith not be sight is to walk not in the way of the world but in the way of the Lord.

The book of Hebrews is worthy of mining and another bit of wisdom comes from  Hebrews 4:2 This concerns the dualism of faith: For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed.

Finally in Romans 1: 17 we find the duty of Faith.  For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

So now that we have done an over view of faith.  Let’s go from inductive to deductive reasoning.  Instead of looking at the whole picture let’s look at the minutia at the details of faith by looking through the eyes of one man, this being Abraham.

Let’s begin with his life.

Abraham was a man who was born and lived in Ur this is what is now Iraq.

God placed a call on his heart.  His call was to travel to the land that he would one day receive as his inheritance.  Where most would disregard this Abraham did not.  He set out by faith not looking with eyes but walking by faith.  He traveled to these new lands even though he had no idea where he was going.

Next we know his life.  By faith he made his home in the Promised Land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.

Why did he do this why did he accept the nomad life style?  The simple reason is He was looking forward to living in the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

Yet Abraham was not alone in his faith.  His wife Sarah was full of faith and keeping to the promise of God, even though she was past childbearing age God allowed her to bear children.

Abraham lived a long life before making the journey.  Yet the journey he was making was not just one of miles.  Instead it was a journey that would take himself and his progeny into the future.    From this one man, who at his age was considered as good as dead came so many descendants that they were as numerous as the stars in the sky and countless as the sand on the seashore.

Abraham, Sarah and all his descendants continued to were still living by faith when they died.

This faith came not from things of this world.  They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.

These are the people who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. Had they been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one.

Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.  As we draw to a close on the subject of faith I would reassure all of us that faith is not based on what we see but who can see us.

During the terrible days of the Blitz, a father, holding his small son by the hand, ran from a building that had been struck by a bomb. In the front yard was a shell hole. Seeking shelter as quickly as possible, the father jumped into the hole and held up his arms for his son to follow. Terrified, yet hearing his father’s voice telling him to jump, the boy replied, “I can’t see you!”

The father, looking up against the sky tinted red by the burning buildings, called to the silhouette of his son, “But I can see you. Jump!” The boy jumped, because he trusted his father.

The Christian faith enables us to face life or meet death, not because we can see, but with the certainty that we are seen; not that we know all the answers, but that we are known, by God.                                                                                      Donner Atwood

Next week we will conclude our look at faith by looking  at the Heroes of the faith if you want to read ahead Hebrews 11: 29 – 12: 2.