Text: Hebrews 11
Icebreaker: Have you ever had a situation where you knew something, but you didn’t know how to explain it? Or that you started asking something and spent many minutes speaking, but still got nowhere?
Last week I was explaining something to a friend - it was a simple request for help with a text. But it took me 10 minutes of speaking and in the end I still had to explain what I was trying to say again. It was confusing! Sometimes that is exactly what happens when we try to explain what faith is.
We need to understand what faith is and start to walk by it, and that must be a growing process in this time of this pandemic and the crisis that is coming from it. The text of Hebrews 11 tells us some things about faith. This text is talking about what faith looks like, rather than just explaining the benefits of having it. So today we will see what faith is like and look at some of the practical manifestations of faith:
1) Faith is what makes me choose the future over the present
Why do people pay into a pension scheme? It’s because they want to have a good future! When we make the payments, we have faith in what we are doing, but sometimes we don’t do the same in our spiritual life – we don’t focus on the future or on how what we do in the present affects that future! To grow spiritually we must choose the future over the present, choosing Jesus over the pleasures and passions of the flesh.
We can see an example of choosing the future over the present in the education of children. Parents ask their children to have faith in the fact that when they stop them from doing what they want to do in the present (like playing video games instead of doing their homework), they are giving them what they need to assure a good future.
The same thing is true in marriages. It is faithful to choose the future over the present when there is disagreement. By focusing on the promises and vows that were made, in faith people can choose the future over the present!
What are the situations in which you can choose the future over the present today? Health? Eating? Time with God? Family relationships?
2) Faith helps me to live a life that trusts in the promises of God.
Abraham was very old and didn’t have any children when the Lord promised Him that his descendants would be as many as the stars in the sky. If it was me in that situation, I would say to the Lord, “Could we start with one child? Only one because I am really old and I have no children at the moment!”, Abraham doesn’t do that though, in this moment his age does not matter and, through faith, he receives the promise and he believes it – at the time, nothing else mattered to him.
What about us? Do we trust in the promises of the Lord, or are we talking about those promises but not living them out because they are not real to us? Can you imagine what a disaster it would have been if Noah had waited until the rain started to fall, before he began to build the ark? He was in the desert, but he believed in God’s promises and lived his life according to them! None of us want to be a person who is called to do many things but who fails to do them out of an unwillingness to live by the promises that God has made; faith helps us to live the life that God has planned for us.
3) With faith I can obediently please God, and have more of Him.
The Bible says that without faith it is impossible to please God. (Heb. 11.6)
Faith cannot be separated from obedience, and if we act based in faith, the heavens will be open and miracles will happen!!! Obedience means that we don’t discuss what God asks of us, or question Him, but instead we just do what we have been told to do, walking by faith. We waste so much time procrastinating, asking God to affirm and prove that He really is asking us to do something; one reason for this is that we are too stuck in the past, or too occupied with the present, to take hold of the future that is being offered to us.
4) Faith helps us to move forwards instead of standing still
At first Sarah laughed when she heard that the Lord would give a son to her and Abraham in her old age, but, after that, she grew up in faith and the Bible says that she died living by faith! She didn’t have it at beginning, but she was transformed so that she grew up and died in faith!
If we need a job, faith is not shown by staying at our house, waiting for someone to come and offer us work. Acting with faith means waking up, praying and going into the streets to find a job!
If we have a problem in any of our relationships, faith is not shown by remaining quiet about it and waiting for it to be resolved. Acting with faith means praying together, talking, and finding the will of the Lord for that situation.
If we want to grow in the Lord, it is not faithful to do nothing about working towards that. Acting with faith is to decide to put the Lord in the first place, wake up and seek Him until the moment that nothing else matters and you have more of Him!!!
Faith is bringing the future into the present
Conclusion: If you want more of God it’s time to walk in faith! So let’s pray for it.