by Dennis Michelson
Introduction: The superiority of Christ has been presented in sublime fashion for the first ten chapters. The writer has given four pointed exhortations for the Hebrews to go on to maturity. The argument reaches a climax in 10:38-39 with the statement "Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul." Living by faith is the pathway to maturity. Verse one of chapter eleven begins with the word "now" and introduces one of the most comprehensive treatments of faith to be found in the Bible.
The "now" in 11:1 is parallel to the same term in 10:38. Faith is a correct response to the commands of God rather than you circumstances. Thus, "faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God."
1. THE PRINCIPLES OF FAITH (11:1-3, 6)
A. Faith Provides Substance (11:1) The term substance means "title deed." The Word of God provides the title deed which gives substance or foundation to our faith.
B. Faith Provides Evidence (11:1) The meaning here is assurance, based upon a sure foundation.
C. Faith Provides a Good Report (11:2) The term means witness or testimony. Does your life demand a supernatural explanation?
D. Faith Provides Understanding (11:3) The old saying "seeing is believing" is reversed here. We believe in order that we may see.
2. THE PEOPLE OF FAITH (11:4-39)
Every person listed not only gave mental assent to the Truth but they did not something in response to it. Trust and obey, for there's no other way.
Abel (4) "offered"
Enoch (5) "pleased"
Noah (7) "moved"
Abraham (8) "went out"
Isaac (20) "blessed Jacob"
Jacob (21) "worshipped"
Joseph (22) "gave commandment"
Moses (23-30) "refused"
Rahab (31) "received the spies"
Heroes (32-39) "received not the promise"
Sara (11) "judged Him faithful"
3. THE PURPOSE OF FAITH (11:6, 27, 40)
A. Please God (6)
B. Produce Patience (27)
C. Produce Perfection (40) compare with 7:19
Conclusion: Faith is more than a feeling, it is an obedient response to the Truth of God. The Old Testament saints saw types and symbols but we have seen the Savior. They looked for Christ to come but we look at the One who has come. They were treated like children but we are treated as full-grown sons.
Spurgeon said "If a small spark of light led them to heaven; then what about us upon whom the Sun of Righteousness has shone? Under what pretense can we excuse ourselves if we cleave to earth?
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