“Why Faith Pleases God”

(Hebrews 11:1-40)



I. Introduction.
A. Orientation.

The author has shown us

That Jesus is superior in every way

To the Old Covenant system –

As we saw last time,

He ministers in a better tabernacle –

In heaven itself –

And with better blood –

His own infinitely precious blood –

And on this basis,

The author urged us to press forward.


Jesus has opened the way to heaven –

And so you are to draw near to God

Through faith in Him;

You are to hold onto Him –

By trusting Him

And doing His will –

And you need to gather together

With your brothers and sisters in Christ

To encourage them to do the same.
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There is only one of two directions

You can go at any one time spiritually:

Either forward or backward –

If you’re not going forward,

You’re going backward.

If you want to see heaven,

You have to be moving forward.


Don’t forget the author’s warning:

If you go after the world,

You are, at the same time,

Turning away from the Lord;

And if you turn from Him,

You are no better than the Jews

Who rejected Jesus and turned Him over

To the Romans for crucifixion.

If you do,

You will face God’s wrath for your sins,

Not the least of which will be

Your rejection of His Son,

Which is the worst sin you can commit:

Jesus said to His disciples,

When He sent them out to preach,
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Regarding those who wouldn’t listen to them,

“Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house
or that city, shake the dust off your feet. Truly I say to you, it will be more
tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for
that city” (Matt. 10:14-15).

B. Preview.

You need to press forward.

But to do that,

The author shows us this morning,

You need faith –

Faith to see what can’t be seen,

Faith to believe God’s promises

And embrace them –

The kind of faith that saves.


The author goes on now

To tell us more about this faith

And what it does in the lives of those

Who are blessed enough by God to possess it.


He tells us at least three things:

1. What faith is.

2. What the benefits are of faith.

3. What kind of difference it should make in your life.

II. Sermon.
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A. First, he explains what faith is: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for,
the conviction of things not seen” (v. 1).

1. Faith takes God at His Word.

He promises to do something,

And you believe Him.


Even though it hasn’t happened yet,

Even though you don’t see it,

You are fully convinced it will happen,

And so you live expecting that it will happen.


2. But it’s more than this:

You’re not just convinced it’s going to take place,

You look forward to its taking place –

In other words,

You see what He promises is good

And you want it to happen.

Faith looks forward

To the fulfillment of God’s promises

With hopeful expectation.

“Faith is the assurance of things hoped for.”


You can begin here

To examine the kind of faith you have:

Do you believe God will do what He says?

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And do you look forward to the time

When what God has promised

Actually takes place?


B. Let’s consider secondly,

What the benefits are of this kind of faith.


1. The first and most important benefit

Is that this is the kind of faith that saves.


When faith eyes the promise

Of eternal life in the Gospel –

When it sees that Jesus is the Savior

And that whoever embraces Him

Is forgiven and made acceptable to God,

It not only believes these things are true,

But warmly welcomes Him

And embraces Him and His ways from the heart.


Is this the kind of faith you have?

Do you believe Jesus is the only Savior?

Have you embraced Him from the heart?

Is He your only trust?

Do you love His ways

And are you following Him?

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If you don’t believe the Gospel,

Or if you only believe these things to be true

But don’t really want Him as your Savior

Or to follow Him as Lord,

Then you still need to repent and believe

If you’re going to see heaven.

Pray that God would give you His Spirit

So that you can!


2. The second benefit

Is that faith gives you

The means to please God.

If you love Him,

Then this should be

At the top of your list of priorities.


You can’t please Him without faith.

If you don’t have faith,

You might believe that He is –

As we see in Romans 1,

Everyone knows that He is –

But you won’t have

The clear and firm conviction

That the Triune God of the Bible exists –
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If you don’t believe that,

You certainly won’t believe

That He rewards those who seek Him (vv. 2, 6).

And if you don’t have a faith that works through love

You won’t care whether He rewards you or not.


On the other hand,

If you can see that God really is,

And that He has made many gracious promises

To those who will trust Him,

And you want what He has promised,

You will seek Him –

No matter what the cost –

And you will receive what He has promised.


C. That’s what the rest of the chapter is about –

The author gives us many examples

Of the difference this faith will make in your life.


It’s interesting that all of them

Are from the Old Testament,

Though there were certainly more recent examples;

He does this to show

That even the OT saints lived by faith,

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And gained God’s approval by faith.

So what will faith look like in your life?


First, it will help you see

Where you came from –

That God made you along with everything else:

“By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that
what is seen was not made out of things which are visible” (v. 3) –

And where you’re going,

At least if you’re a believer –

To “the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (v. 10).


This is something those outside of Christ

Know nothing about.

They believe they’re a cosmic accident

That comes into existence for a little while

And then go back into nothingness.

They have no real purpose –

No wonder so many take their lives.


But since you know the truth,

You also know, second,

What your purpose is –

Why you’re here:

To glorify God

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By leaving this world behind,

And seeking after heaven.


Let’s consider how faith

Had this effect in the lives of those

The author speaks of in this chapter.


It was faith that compelled Abel

To offer a better sacrifice than Cain –

He knew what God wanted

And out of love, he gave it to Him,

Even though it made his brother hate him (v. 4).


It was faith that made Enoch

Turn his back on the world

And walk with God.

God was so pleased with him,

He decided to bring him to heaven

Before his life had run its course (v. 5).


Faith is why Noah spent 100 years –

Over a fifth of his life –

Building an ark to save his life,

His family and the animals –

Because he believed God when He said

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He was going to destroy the world through a flood (v. 7).

He didn’t have to see it to believe it,

He simply took God’s Word for it.


It was because Abraham had faith

That he left his home,

And all his relatives,

To go and live in a foreign land –

Because He believed God

When He said He would give that land

To his children (vv. 8-10).


Sarah was able to conceive

When she was ninety years old

Because she believed God

When He said He would give her a child (v. 11).


NB: These didn’t just choose to believe

What they wanted to believe

And it happened because they had faith,

As the faith gurus would tell you.

The object of your faith

Has to be God’s promise –

When He says something

You need to believe it, desire it, and hope for it.
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Abraham also believed God

When He told him

He would have as many children as the stars in the sky

Or as the grains of sand on the seashore,

And that’s exactly what happened (vv. 11-12).


Abraham didn’t actually live long enough

To see God fulfill His promise

To give the land of Canaan

To the many children He also promised –

He didn’t live to see the bringing in

Of the New Heavens and Earth –

Nor did he live to see

The coming of that special child

Through whom the Lord

Would bless all the nations –

Neither did Isaac and Jacob for that matter –

Yet, they did see these things by faith

And by God’s grace

Inherited those promises.


They believed God

And because they did,

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God wasn’t ashamed to call Himself their God,

And to prepare a heavenly city for them –

And for all those who will also trust God –

Where they could live with Him (vv. 13-16).


Abraham was even willing

To offer his only son Isaac,

As a burnt offering,

When God commanded him

Even though God had said

That He would fulfill His promise through Isaac

To make Abraham the father of many nations.

Abraham knew that even if he killed Isaac,

God would raise him up again (vv. 17-19).

That’s how much Abraham trusted God!


The fact that God spared Isaac

On the third day after He had given Abraham this command,

Was a picture, a type of Jesus Christ:

Just as Isaac was dead in Abraham’s mind for those three days,

But was raised again when God spared him,

So the Lord would give His only son

As a sacrifice for our sins,

But would raise Him up again on the third day (v. 19; cf. Gen. 22:4).

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Isaac, before he died,

Blessed Jacob and Esau

And told them what would happen

To them in the future,

Because he believed God’s promise (v. 20).


Jacob blessed Joseph’s two sons

For the same reason (v. 21).


Joseph, just before he died,

Commanded the sons of Israel

To take his bones with them

When they left Egypt,

Because he knew God would fulfill His promise

To bring them into the land (v. 22).


Moses was willing to give up

What most in this world

Seek after their whole lives –

Fame and fortune –

To suffer with God’s people

As their leader,

Because he believed God

When He promised a better reward (vv. 23-27).

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He had the courage to stand before Pharaoh,

He kept the Passover,

And led Israel through the Red Sea –

Even though the Egyptians were drowned –

Because he believed what God said (vv. 27-29).


Joshua and the armies of Israel

Saw the seemingly impenetrable walls of Jericho fall down

After they marched around them for seven days,

Because they believed what God promised (v. 30).


Rahab and her household were spared

Because she alone believed God’s promise

And hid the spies (v. 31).


Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jepthah, and David

Were able to defeat their enemies;

Daniel survived an entire night in the lion’s den;

And Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego

In the fiery furnace;

Because they believed God (vv. 32-35).


Many who trusted God

Were willing to be ridiculed, beaten,

Tortured, imprisoned, and put to death;
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To live in deserts, mountains,

In caves and holes in the ground,

Rather than in comfortable homes (vv. 35-38),

Because they also believed

That God would provide something better,

If only they left this world

To follow Him.


All of these did what they did

Because they believed God.

The author implies

That through faith

They were also able to see Jesus –

And they welcomed Him,

And trusted Him,

And were saved by Him.

They were even willing to lay down their lives

So that they could enter His kingdom (vv. 39-40).


That was true of those

Who lived before Jesus came –

But what about you who live after He came?

You’ve seen the fulfillment

Of all of God’s promises in Jesus Christ.
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Have you trusted Him?

Have you turned from your sins?


The faith they had

Made them turn their back on the world

And seek to enter His kingdom

No matter what the cost

Because it was precious to them.

Do you have this kind of faith?

Is the kingdom precious to you?

Have you turned your back on this world?

And are you willing to pay

Whatever price you must to enter it?

Are you seeking that city He has prepared for you,

As Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses?


Are you willing even to face the enemy

And not back down,

Whether it means victory or suffering –

As Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jepthah, David,

Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego?


Do you have the kind of faith that pleases God?

Is He pleased with what He sees in you?

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If you don’t, pray that God would grant you His mercy –

That He would open your eyes

To see that what He says is true,

And that what He promises

Is worth more than anything this world has to offer,

So that it will draw your heart

From this world to heaven.

May He grant this grace to each of us. Amen.


http://www.graceopcmodesto.org

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