“By Faith” Hebrews 11
Even in church, even in the body of believers, people many times want something they can feel, they can see. They want an experience. It doesn’t matter how unbiblical an experience it is. They’ll go to church and say, “I don’t feel” as if that’s what we’re looking for: a feeling.
You can go somewhere and feel something and have none of it be of the Lord. Feelings and faith, they’re not always friends. They’re not always working together. Anyone ever felt good about something that that was bad? Felt bad about something that was good? Feelings ain’t the way to go. Our feelings are an extension of our flesh. We can’t be led by them. We’ve got to be lead by the spirit and by the Word of God. In my own life, I know there are times when I’ve felt, “I feel good about this,” but it’s not right. It wouldn’t be the right thing to do but I feel good about it because maybe it benefits me in some way or it makes me feel a certain way.
We want to be cautious because that’s not how we walk with the Lord. We enter into a relationship with the Lord by faith. We walk with the Lord by faith. Anything that God’s going to do with you, in you, and through you will be by faith.
As we go through Hebrews 11, there are all these examples of things that people accomplished by faith. God’s saying, I’m going to select out of scripture people who were heroes of the faith. By faith they did this, they did that. You’re going to be surprised.
I look at the faith teachers today and what they’re encouraging you to do by faith and I don’t see any of it in Hebrews 11. No one acquired great wealth by faith in Hebrews 11. Nobody amassed a gang of stuff in the earth realm for themselves by faith. That’s not what it was for.
By faith, they subdued kingdoms, overcame enemies, they served God, they were willing to die, they were sawn in two. God says, this is faith, this is what it isn’t, this is how it works, this is what those that had it did.
This is what we want to become. If I want to be a man of faith, I’m looking at Hebrews 11 saying, “God, make me like these men and women in Hebrews 11 whose successes in life and accomplishments by faith You are celebrating.”
In Hebrews 11:1, we get our biblical description and definition of faith and it says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen.”
First of all it says faith is the substance of things hoped for. The idea is this: As a believer if we walk with the Lord, there are thing believers are hoping for and by faith I’ll have it as though it is substance though I don’t have it yet.
Everybody who has given their life to Christ has a hope in heaven. I’ve got a little description of heaven, a few little nugglets. Streets of gold, no sorrow, no suffering. We know a little bit, but I haven’t seen heaven. I haven’t touched heaven. But by faith it’s substantive to me.
I know that when I die that’s where I’m going. If someone I love dies in the Lord, I know that’s where they’re going. It’s the substance of things hoped for. When we say that, I don’t have it in my hand, but I believe it like I know that I have it. That’s what faith is.
Now where do you put that faith in? This is where a lot of the false teachings come into play. False teachers, some of the word-faith teachers, they’ll tell you that you can decide you want something and then you put your faith in what you want so that you get it. I’m telling you that’s not how biblical faith works.
In the first place, as a Christian, the thing that you’re hoping for is the thing that God has promised to give you. There are things that God has said, “I’m going to do this for you.
“For those that have confessed me as Lord, those that have surrendered their lives to me, they know that they have heaven. Those that speak to me, I listen when they pray. Those that cry out to me, they know that I’m here.”
I read the scripture and know from that what God said He’s going to do. So by faith I’m believing, I’m trusting in the Lord for this things.
Substance of things hoped for. You take someone that lacks faith, and even though God’s word says what it says, they lack peace because, “I don’t really believe it. I don’t have the substance of things hoped for.
“Some bad things happened to me today and because I lack faith, I don’t believe that all things are working together for the good. I don’t see how any good can come from this.”
But God’s word says, “All things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” If you’re a person of faith, you will lean on that scripture and say, “My hope says this is horrible today, but somehow this is going to work together for the good. That is my hope. I’m looking for that. I’m waiting on the Lord to reveal the good that will come from this devastating, difficult set of circumstances.”
That’s the life of faith. This is what God said, this is what just happened, and I’m believing what God says in relation to what just happened. That’s how faith is supposed to function in the hearts and minds and lives of the believers.