Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Hebrews: The Superiority Of Christ To Errant Religions
Part VI: The Response Of Faith To Christ's Superiority, Hebrews 11:1-13:19
A. Clarifying What Constitutes A Life Of Faith
(Hebrews 11:1, 6)
  1. Introduction
    1. Many believers in Christ speak of "living by faith," trusting God, but abuses of this phrase run rampant: for example, some go so far as to say something like, "I'm quitting my job in faith that God will supply all my material needs as promised in Philippians 4:19" when 2 Thessalonians 3:10 claims that if a man does not work, he should not eat!
    2. Thus, we need clarification on what is a true life of faith, and Hebrews 11:1, 6 provides it (as follows):
  2. Clarifying What Constitutes A Life Of Faith, Hebrews 11:1, 6.
    1. Hebrews chapter 11, commonly known as the "hall of fame" for Old Testament Scripture saints who lived by faith in God, describes for us in Hebrews 11:1, 6 the general marks of a life of faith while providing ample illustrations of Old Testament saints who lived such lives of faith.
    2. We view that information for insight on the true life of faith (as follows):
      1. The author of Hebrews noted that faith is the hupostasis, "the title-deed of things hoped for," the vernacular meaning of the KJV word "substance" in Hebrews 11:1a, Mou lton & Milligan, The Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament, 1972, p. 659-660. This word's use implies "something that underlies visible conditions and guarantees a future possession." (Ibid.)
      2. Faith is also the conviction (elegchos) of things not seen, U. B. S. Greek N. T., 1966, p. 769; Arndt & Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon of the N. T., 1967, p. 248; Bible Know. Com., N. T., p. 807.
      3. To clarify, the author in Hebrews 11:6 explained it is impossible to please God without a faith that first believes that He exists, and that He becomes (ginetai) a rewarder of those who earnestly seek ( ekzetousin) Him in the sense of serving Him, Ibid., U. B. S. Greek N. T.; Arndt & Gingrich, p. 239.
      4. <+@>Applying this clarification to some examples of the life of faith provided in Hebrews 11, we see that "living by faith" is believing in the existence of Scripture's God and thus trusting His Biblical revelation about future rewards for doing His Biblically revealed will in the present (as follows):
        1. In the case of Noah, he not only believed in God's existence, but heeded His message of a coming world flood that would destroy the earth so as to build an ark to deliver his family and the land animals from certain death, Hebrews 11:7a with Genesis 6:13-22. In so doing, Noah condemned the world of his era as being a evil, becoming an heir of the righteousness which is by faith, Heb. 11:7b.
        2. In Abraham's case, he believed in God's existence and thus heeded His Word that promised him blessing in terms of offspring and land inheritance, and he thus moved to that land to live as a sojourner in faith that God would eventually give him and his descendants possession of the land, Hebrews 11:8-9 with Genesis 12:1-5.
        3. In the case of Sarah, she not only believed God existed, but trusted God's promise that she would bear a son in her old age, a faith that she would indeed be physically restored so as to achieve this feat line with God's promise versus her initial doubts, Heb. 11:11-12; Genesis 18:9-15 with 21:1-7.
      5. In summary, then, the life of faith is not an exercise in trusting that God will meet some goal that is set by a human being instead of God where God has not Scripturally delegated that goal-setting issue to the human being; rather, living by faith is trusting both God's existence and His WORD that motivates one to gain God's Scripturally-stated FUTURE REWARD for obeying His WORD in the PRESENT, a trust that translates into active obedience to God's Word in one's current life!
Lesson: The life of faith for the believer is NOT one that tries to get God to supply him certain blessings chosen by the believer himself; RATHER, it is a life where one trusts that the GOD of SCRIPTURE EXISTS and offers BLESSINGS for OBEYING His WORD that leads the believer to OBEY Scripture!

Application: May we TRULY live by faith, that is, may we yield to Scripture's revelation that God both exists and will provide specific Scriptural rewards for obeying His Scriptural directives in our lives.