Hebrews - Living by Faith
Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. This text tells us that faith is not wishful thinking or a longing for something to happen in the future. I have faith you will pass the test. No, look at this. It is the assurance. It is the conviction. Assurance is translated substance or reality. It is that which provides the basis for trust and reliance. Look at the verse faith assures us, gives substance to that which we, hope for. That is the thing that we have fixed our expectations on. Conviction can be translated as evidence. It is the proof. It is to be convinced to the point of action. You are so sure of what you believe that you are willing to take action, even for things that are not visible to the naked eye.
This verse speak specifically to the creation account and in very simple terms, it tells us that this universe was created by the word of God. The universe came into being because an outside force, in this case God, created by the power of His spoken word. Said a different way, all that you see in this universe, God spoke into existence in 6 literal, 24 hour days. And this can only be accepted by faith. and so the Bible answers the questions about our origins in simple clarity. Our thesis then for tonight is Faith answers life’s biggest questions. Where did you come from? why are you here? where are you going?
For Cain and for his offering He had no regard. God did not accept the sacrifice of Cain. Was it the fact that he brought fruit and not an animal? I don't think so, it was that he came to God with a wrong heart. Sure he acknowledged God as supreme, sure he came with a sacrifice to worship. He came with outward actions that matched his younger brother’s, but his heart was in a different place. How many people, like Cain, come to God their own way? They know they need to come to God, and so they go to church. They recognize that there is a Creator and that they have sinned against Him. They go to mass or to the temple or to some other sacred place and they seek to offer something to God. This is why church is filled on Easter and Christmas. It is a person’s way of saying I know I owe something to God, let me drop some money in the basket when it comes by. Let me sign myself with the cross. Let me do some outward deed to try to appease God. This was Cain and this is most of the world today. They will give some external form of worship, but it is not reflective of their heart.
The story of Enoch is short but sweet. We are not given many details of his life but we will do what we can to piece this together. The author wants to make it clear that he didn't die. Something else happened to him. He also wants us to understand why he didn't die. He is a picture for us. He serves as a primitive illustration of what our lives are to be. He didn't have much knowledge, the bible wasn't written, but what had been passed on to him about God he believed, and his life changed as a result.
These verses tell us what life was like in the time of Noah. It was full of sin. Here we are, just 6 chapters after creation, and already life is very different from what it was in the garden. Adam and Eve sinned, disobeying the command of God, and every form of sin entered the stream of humanity. It takes only 1 set of brothers in Gen 4 for there to be jealousy, anger, and eventually murder. By the time you get to Gen 6, you have God looking down upon the earth and seeing a world full of wickedness and evil. The situation is not getting better it is getting worse. And as God looks down upon His creation, He no longer smiles saying “it is very good” like He said in Gen 1:31, He is now grieved in His heart at how quickly people have chosen to reject Him. His heart has been broken by man.
Whether this is persecution, or loss of job, or loss of friends, or just the sacrifice of laying your body on the alter as a living sacrifice and saying no to what comes naturally. This is what it is to be a Christian. This is the central tenet of faith. You are trusting the promise of God that something better is coming. He has a better plan and a better satisfaction and even though your body and your emotions are screaming for satisfaction, you can say no I choose Christ. I believe. I have faith in His word and I will turn from all that is natural and I will choose Him. This is an act of worship.
Without faith, it is impossible to please God. Do you have faith? Well yes, I have faith. I believe in God. I'm pretty sure anyway that someone or something made all of this. In fact, I am pretty sure that I believe in the Christian God. You know Jesus, the cross, the bible etc. That's a start, but its not what this is talking about. Faith is much more. It is the complete and total trust in another. It is the abandonment of self-accomplishment and self-effort. It is a whole-hearted clinging to the work of Jesus Christ for your salvation. It is coming to Him as a sinner, unworthy of entering His presence, worthy instead of judgment, and laying yourself, completely bankrupt at His feet and asking for His help. And, here it is, trusting or having faith, that He will help you, forgive you, and accept you through what Christ has done on the cross. It is letting go of all that you thought would please God doing good things, putting money into the basket at church, using less profanity and recognizing that the only way to please God is by faith. This is an all out dependence on Him in every part of life. It is trusting that His ways are best. It is having such a firm belief in what the Bible teaches that even though you cant see Him, touch Him, or talk to Him face to face, you have a fixed hope and grounded convictions that he will not let you down.
God gives His best to those who trust Him. It can bring tremendous victories, and maybe even terrible loss. But it also bring Salvation. No matter what is happening, you can trust that God is in control. Jesus is better.
As Christians we are called to run, we are called endure, to put everything into this and go after it. We stumble and fall, get distracted often. You turn the other way, away from Christ to toward the passing pleasures of the world. But, consider Christ and what He did for you. Don’t grow weary, don’t loss heart. Think on Him, come back to loving Him as the primary. Not easy but very simple. Fix your eyes on Jesus.