FAITH-WHAT IS FAITH? Hebrews 11:8-9.
Faith is a key word in the Bible- a key principle. But what is faith? Faith is a Collingwood supporter who believes that Collingwood will win another Grand Final in their lifetime. School boy definition: â€œ Faith is believing something you know isnâ€™t trueâ€. Rather a cynical definition-his father must have been a politician. Faith has two aspects: 1. Believing something to be true. Eg the sun is 93 million miles from the earth.+The earth travels 584 million miles a year in its orbit of the sun. + Jesus was born in Bethlehem-lives in Israel-died on a cross-rose again was the Son of God. Faith means accepting these statements as true.
2. TRUST:a deeper meaning-â€œ taking God at his Wordâ€. Trusting in the promises of God. Biblical definition: â€œFaith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not seeÂ´ . Hebrews 11:1. Note the strong words- â€œ sureâ€ certainâ€œ. This is very different from the school boys definition. It is not a vague hope like saying â€œI hope it rainsâ€. It is not a pious wish. So faith doesnâ€™t just say that Jesus died on a cross-but that he died for ME. Hebrews 11 is the great chapter on faith. It is a Whose-Who of people who have demonstrated faith- trust in God. It mentions people like Abel-Enoch Noah-Moses-Gideon-Samuel-David etc. Today I want to focus on Abraham. He is seen as the great example of faith. Today we will learn what faith is from the example of Abraham. The key word here is obviously OBEY. By Faith Abraham obeyed. He went in obedience to Godâ€™s call-not because he had itchy feet- desire to travel- a political refugee- npr was he running away from home. He went simply because God called him. God called so Abraham obeyed. It was as simple as that. Put yourself in Abrahamâ€™s position. You live in the city of Haran-comfortable-civilized life- active and involved in the community â€“family nearby-aged 75-happy to spend the rest of your life there in familiar surroundings-you have no desire to move. Itâ€™s the last thing on your mind. It would be a big enough shock to be told to leave everything familiar with. That would be a big enough shock. But to be told to leave all that and go to an unknown country-a place you have never hear of-a place you didnâ€™t know existed. That was a real test of faith. He didnâ€™t even know where he was supposed to be going. Yet he went. He obeyed God. And he obeyed because he had faith/trust in God. Even though he had no idea where he was to go. He knew Who was going with him. He didnâ€™t know the way. But he knew the guide. That was all that mattered. SO what do we learn from this. We learn that faith/Obedience go hand in hand. We learn that a true faith is an obedient faith. As the Bible says, â€œWe walk by faith, not by sightâ€. After all if you had sight, you wouldnâ€™t need faith. And what God required of Abraham, he also requires of us-an obedient faith. Dietrich Bonhoffer a Lutheran pastor and theologian executed by the Nazis in 1944 studied the relationship between faith/obedience in his book on Discipleship; He saw that the two were intricately connected. Two statements-2 side of the coin â€œONLY THOSE WHO BELEIVE CAN OBEYâ€ and â€œONLY THOSE WHO OBEY CAN BELEIVEâ€. Faith gives the motivation-power to enab tle a person to obey, eg Peter walking on the water. His trust in Jesus enabled him to step out in faith. Only when you step out in obedience will you discover that God keeps his promises.
2.ENDURANCEâ€”PATIENCE Abraham set out for the promisedland.It was a long-slow-tedious journey. Even when he arrived his faith was tested further
He was not able to take possession of the land God had promised him. He had travelled so far- he had left behind the comfort-security-convenience of his former home. Yet when he arrived at his destination he canâ€™t take possession of the land because other people were already living there. He had to life the life of a Nomad. Puttingup and pulling down his tents. Then moving on again. He was not able to settle down-establish a permanent home. He was a wanderer-nomad in the land God had promised him. He did not even own a square metre of land. In fact the first piece of land he bought was a burial plot on which to bury his wife Sarah when she died. Yet despite the fact that Godâ€™s promise had not been fulfilled, Abraham did not give up his faith. He still trusted the Word/promise of God. God had spoken-He had made a promise and that was good enough for Abraham. He had a patient-enduring faith.
A faith that is the kind that we all need-an enduring patient faith. Even if our prayers are not immediately answered. A faith that continues to trust despite what may happen. Eg Job. After all it is fairly easy to believe when your prayers are being answered in the way you want them to be. When everything is going well for you. It doesnâ€™t take much faith to believe in those circumstances. What kind of faith do you have? Is it a living-genuine faith? A faith that is strong enough to trust-obey even when you are not sure what is going to happen. Even if things donâ€™t turn out the way you wanted them to. Even though others may make fun of your faith-ridicule you
â€œFaith is believing what God says simply because it is God who says itâ€. So the real test of your faith is whether or not you are prepared to trust and obey. â€œObedience is the outward sign of an inner faithâ€. â€œFaith doesnâ€™t make things easier but it enables you
To cope. â€œIf your face is wrinkled with cares and worries, try a faith lift.â€ LH 321. â€œFaith is a living power from heaven; that grasps the promise God has given. A trust that cannot be oâ€™thrown, fixed heartily on Christ alone.â€
Pastor Hayden Blaess