Sunday Sermons

Sunday Sermons

Faith, Hebrews 11


This chapter is filled with one example after another of genuine faith – the kind of faith that saves (Hebrews 10:39), and how this faith was expressed in the lives of various individuals in the Old Testament. In this lesson I want to overview this chapter and explore some of its priceless truths:

Believing In What Was Not Yet Seen

  • “What is seen was not made out of things which are visible” (11:3)
  • Noah was warned about things not seen (11:7)
  • “He went out, not knowing where he was going” (11:8)
  • “All these died in faith without receiving the promises” (11:13)
  • “Even regarding things to come” (11:20)
  • Joseph made mention of the exodus before it transpired(11:22)
  • “Did not receive what was promised” (11:39)

Many of these examples of faith have the same thread of someone believing in something predicted or promised by God, and in like manner, we continue to believe in many things that we cannot see with our eyes:

  • The Second Coming and the unchanging verdict at that judgment
  • The afterlife of either immeasurable pain or immeasurable pleasure

It is so easy when we see so many people either ignoring or denying the above truths to ask the question, “Is God's word really true?” Of course we know the answer. God’s track record of accuracy is 100% percent, and everything that the Bible has said about past events has been proven true. There's just no getting around this reality.


Faith is Intelligent

  • “By faith we understand” (11:3)
  • “Since she considered Him faithful who had promised” (11:11)
  • “He considered that God is able…” (11:19)
  • “Considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt” (11:26)

Far from being blind, faith observes, weighs the evidence, learns, and is perfectly willing to be persuaded in whatever direction truth is found (Acts 17:11). Faith thinks, considers, ponders and in the end understands realities both big and small, including:

  • The origin of the universe, our world, and even ourselves
  • Who we are and why we are here
  • The difference between right and wrong
  • The value of a human being
  • Real sources of true and lasting happiness
  • How to live, treat others, get along, and build a productive society
  • How to make a marriage work
  • How to raise happy, spiritually productive children

Far from faith being a mere guess or a stab in the dark, faith in God and acceptance of His revelation to mankind enables one to avoid the ugliness of the dark, and instead understand the answers to the questions the rest of society spends its time only blindly stabbing at and guessing. So when faith leads to one settling issues and finding absolutes and unbelief leads to a life of speculating, it becomes clear that faith is not a leap nor a guess, but rather a confident lifestyle.

Faith is not Fearful

  • “They were not afraid of the king’s edict” (11:23)
  • “Not fearing the wrath of the king” (11:27)
  • “They passed through the Red Sea” (11:29)
  • “Became mighty in the war” (11:34)

Faith is far from superstition, for superstition is rooted in fear. Faith leads to neither ignorance nor fear, but to knowledgeable, confident and fearless living. In like manner, Christians today do not fear:

  • The popular opinions of men
  • The threats of men
  • Peer pressure
  • Failure
  • Pressure from popular media
  • Being in the minority or even standing alone for truth
  • Holding to ideas that the culture deems unpopular

Faith is not preoccupied with the Past or Earthly Things

  • “He was looking for the city which has foundations” (11:10)
  • “Having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance” (11:13)
  • “They are seeking a country of their own” (11:14)
  • “If they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is a heavenly one” (11:16)

Thus, it would iniquitous to claim that Christians are “stuck in the past”. We learn from the past, we see the lessons of history, we clearly see how sin never leads to lasting happiness, but we are not preoccupied with the past, rather, we are eagerly awaiting a heavenly reward. Our minds are on the future. In like manner, we do not allow ourselves to dwell on:

  • Past sins
  • Past failures
  • Past grievances
  • Past hardships
  • “What I should have done”

In addition, the Christian is very aware that they have not missed out on anything desirable by opting out of a sinful lifestyle. Moses knew that the true reward was with God (11:24-25). So we do not look fondly back upon past sins or a past life of unfaithfulness.

Faith Achieves and Conquers

  • " kingdoms” (11:33)
  • “From weakness were made strong” (11:34)
  • “Put foreign armies to flight” (11:34)

Faith is anything but weak nor unmanly. Faith does what others think is impossible and faith does not give up even when being tortured (11:35), therefore, today it can be said of many Christians that by faith they:

  • Resisted sexual temptation and saved themselves for marriage
  • Resisted the pulled of drugs
  • Resisted the pull of pornography
  • Resisted the slick appeal of false doctrine and false teachers
  • Refused to conform to the culture
  • Refused to alter God’s word
  • Kept right on preaching the truth even when there were not spectacular results
  • Continued worshipping God in the manner He desires
  • Kept right on when surrounded by critics and discouraging situations
  • Remained faithful even when friends and family did not

Faith is not Optional

  • “For by it the men of old gained approval” (11:2)
  • “Which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous” (11:4)
  • “Without faith it is impossible to please Him” (11:6)

This chapter is not necessarily a list of “the best”, but rather is instead simply a list of faithful men and women. There are many who are not named in this list, but are alluded to by the phrase “and others”(11:36). Down through the history of God’s people there have been many “others”. We do not know their names, but God surely does, and has written them in His book of life. In like manner the faithful today are part of that list of “others”. Faith is not optional, rather it is essential when it comes to going to heaven. And certainly whatever is absolutely necessary to go to heaven is undoubtedly worth our time and effort to discover, learn, and practice. May God bless you in this eternal venture.