Heb. 11:1-2 AN ANATOMY OF FAITH
Intro: Years ago the captain of a large vessel set sail with his family
from Liverpool. His destination was New York. One night when everyone was asleep, a sudden
squall arose. The wind came sweeping over the water, struck the vessel and almost capsized
it. Everything movable was sent tumbling and crashing, and the passengers became aware
that they were in imminent peril. Everyone was alarmed, and many sprang from their berths
and began to dress. The captain's little daughter, just 8 years old, was awakened and
cried with fright, "What's the matter?" When they told her about the storm she
asked, "Is Father on deck?" Assured that he was, the little one dropped back
onto her pillow without a fear. In spite of the howling winds and crashing waves, she was
soon fast asleep.
This ought to be the attitude of every Christian as we face the rough
seas and stormy days of life. The Bible tells us that we are to "live by faith."
In verses like Mark 11:22 and Hab. 2:4, we are reminded that faith is to be the daily
lifestyle of the believer. When we read Rom. 14:23, we learn that anything that isnt
a product of this faith life is a sin. In Heb.. 11:6, we see that without this quality
called faith, we will never be able to pleas the Lord. We know that we are saved by faith,
Eph. 2:8-9, but just how do we go about living everyday of our lives by faith?
Thankfully, the Bible doesnt leave us in the dark concerning the
walk of faith. It sheds much light on this vastly important topic. Tonight, as the Lord
gives liberty, I would like to preach on this topic: An Anatomy Of Faith. I would like to
tell you what faith is not as well as what it is, then I want to show you what it does in
our lives day by day. Lets look at these together and consider An Anatomy Of Faith.
I. THE FALLACIES SURROUNDING FAITH
A. Faith Is Not A Blind Leap - There are those who feel
that a life lived by faith is the life of a fool. They speculate that faith is nothing
more than a leap into the dark. However, faith is much more than just walking around blind
waiting for providence to bump into you. Faith is your response to the promises of God for
your life. (God says, "I will lead you." Faith responds, "I will
follow." God says, "I will feed you." Faith says, "I will eat."
God says, "I will meet your need." Faith says. "It is done.") Faith is
never a leap into the dark, it is always a based upon the firmest of foundations, The Word
Of God. The person who really walks in faith never walks through life blind. He always
knows what is ahead
B. Faith Is Not A Blank Check - (Ill. The "Name it
and claim it" philosophy that permeates much of the church in our day. People have
been taught that if they want something from God, then they are to pray about it and
believe it than look for it to happen.) (Ill. There are many who have become discouraged
in their faith and disappointed with God because He didnt do it like they were told
He would.) Faith is not a blank check! God is not our little cosmic Santa Clause just
waiting for us to place our orders and then drive away with anything and everything we
(Ill. The implications of this way of thinking! If this is true then
God is not more than a genie who has no other purpose than to grant our wishes by the
thousands. May I remind you that this Charismatic, Name and Claim it crowd have missed the
mark! Gods is about far larger and greater things than just waiting for me to come
up with a new want for my wish list)
C. Faith Is Not A Bad Choice - Ill. There are those who
would say that it is foolish to walk in total and utter dependence upon the Lord. These
people argue that God is an unknown. That He is an unseen force with which man cannot
interact and have fellowship. They call the Christian who lives by faith a fool! However,
the Christian who determines to truly live his life by total faith in his Heavenly Father
will never be disappointed with God, nor will he struggle through life blindly. There will
be a deep settled assurance that God is in absolute control of all situations and the His
will shall always be accomplished in the life of the believer. (Ill. As believers, we can
either choose to please the Lord, or we can choose to please ourselves. If we are
determined that we are going to please the Lord, then we are going to have to walk by
faith in Him and in His Word and will.)
D. These are a few of the things that faith is not. Allow me to take
just a few minutes to look at what faith is. We have seen the Fallacies surrounding
faith, now lets look for a moment at the Facts surrounding faith.
II. THE FACTS SURROUNDING FAITH
If faith is none of these things, then exactly what is it?
A. Faith is defined and described by verse 1. Notice that faith makes
"things that are hoped for" as real as the things that are and it provides the
unshakable "evidence" of those things that are ours asa result of our
relationship to Jesus Christ. In other words, it brings the future within the present and
makes the invisible seen.
B. Thankfully, the author of Hebrews did not leave us in the dark
concerning what all this "sureness and certainty" were to be based upon. In
verse 2, the writer speaks of the elders and says that by their faith, they earned a good
report from God. Then, he goes on the speak of their faith and in every instance, either
stated, or implied is the promise of God. Notice:
1. V. 3 The Creation account is reliable because it is based upon the
Word of God.
2. V. 4 Abel offered a more pleasing sacrifice because of faith in a
3. V. 5-6 Enoch received the first plain air ride because he had faith
in the promises of God.
4. V. 7 Noah built the Ark and survived the flood because his faith
floated on the promise of the Lord.
5. V. 8-19 Abraham left home and country, sojourned in a foreign land,
offered his son as a sacrifice to God and looked or an eternal city. His faith was based
on the unshakeable foundation of the Word of God.
6. V. 20-22 Isaac, Jacob and Joseph all died in faith looking to the
fulfillment of the promises of the Lord.
7. V. 23-29 Moses forsook Egypt, led Israel, did the will of the Lord,
all in response to the promises of God.
8. V. 30 Israel conquered Jericho because of faith in a promise from
9. V. 31 Rahab was saved because of her faith in the Lords
10. V. 32-40 Thousands down through the ages have responded to
Gods promises with faith and they have seen Him do great wonders.
C. With these facts in mind, what is faith? Faith is the assurance that
God will do exactly what He has promised to do! (Ill. Anything based on guesswork, peace
of heart, wishful thinking ECT., will end in failure. God is a God who responds to a
peoples faith in Himself and His promises.
(Ill. If you climbed up on top of this building and said, "I am
going to jump off of here and not hit the ground. I believe that God is going to make me
fly. I have prayed for it and asked Him to hold me up. I have peace in my heart that He
will make me fly. I believe that this is His will, so I am going to leap off this building
and He will make me fly." Before you jump, please tell us what to do with the body,
because you are probably going to die!)
(Ill. Many people have become disappointed with God because He
didnt do something they told Him to do. We must remember that faith is not a lasso
which we throw around Gods neck to make Him do our will. It is not some button we
push to force God into doing what we want. Many have prayed for things they wanted or
thought they needed and their requests were denied. Many of these people become bitter
against God and cease to follow Him. Sometimes, the things they prayed for were
legitimate, like the healing of a relative, a new job, some problem, etc. However, when
they forget that they havent been given a clear promise from God concerning that
situation, they are in for disappointment. We can pray about anything we want to, then
we can hope that it will come to pass, but we can only have faith in those things which
God has already promised to bring to pass. When I expect God to do as He has promised,
that is faith. When I expect Him to do as I wish, then that is presumption! God will
honor the first and ignore the second!)
(Ill. Our prayers of hope versus the prayer of faith!When I pray that
my neighbor will be saved, I can have faith that God will save him, if he will turn to
Jesus. However, I can only hope that he will be saved, because he may decide not to
When I pray that my need might be met, I can believe that it will be
met because God has promised to meet it - Phil. 4:19.
When I pray that a person will be healed, I can hope that it will
happen. I know God has the power to heal, but I do not know that it is His will. I do not
have His promise in the matter.
When I pray for the safety of my children, I can hope they will be
safe, but I cannot have the absolute assurance that they will be safe, because I do not
have the Lords Word on it!
However, when God says it will be a certain way in His Word, then you
can count on it being just as He has said. Therefore, anything that is promised in the
Book can serve as the basis for genuine faith.)
D. So, what is faith? Faith is simply the deep settled assurance that
God will do exactly what He has promised to do.
III. THE FUNCTION OF FAITH
What exactly will faith do for you? After we are saved, there are
certain functions which faith performs in our lives. As I look at these things, I cannot
help but be encouraged.
A. Faith Calms Our Fears - I am not sheltered from bad
things, but in the midst of them I have His promise - Rom. 8:28; 1 Cor. 15:57; 2 Cor.
4:17. (Ill. Phil. 4:6-7)
B. Faith Cushions Our Falls - I am not immune from sin
and temptations, but when and if I fall, I have His promise! It is possible for the Child
of God to fall down, but we can never fall out - John 10:28. If we do fall, we have His
Word that we will be forgiven when we turn to Him in repentance, 1 John 1:9. This is not
an excuse to fall, but it is an encouragement to those who have and those who will!
C. Faith Confirms Our Future - I do not know what I will
face tomorrow, but I know that when all my tomorrows are finished, I have a future
secured in the Lord Jesus Christ, John 14:1-3.
D. Faith Claims Gods Finest - Faith doesnt
gorge itself on the slop of the world. It sets its sights higher. Faith believes
that God will be true to His Word and there, faith responds to that Word, acts upon that
Word and receives the fulfillment of that Word, Rom. 4:21; Heb. 6:18. (Ill. There are many
who never learn what God can do because they are never willing to believe that God can
E. Faith Challenges Our Failures - What I mean by that is
that faith believes Phil. 4:13. Faith says that we can be all that God wants us to be.
Faith accepts the notion that we do not have to settle for second best. Faith says that we
can have everything that God has for us and that we can have it right now. Faith says that
we do not have to live to the lower standard of the world. Faith just takes God at His
Word and serves Him.
F. Faith Calls Our Friends - Faith says to those around
us that what god has done here, He can do in your life too. Faith reaches out to those in
sin because it knows that everyone who turns to Jesus for salvation will be saved. Faith
believes Gods promises concerning salvation by faith.
Conc: Gods will is that we live by faith! Not the blind leap of
the foolish, not the blank check of misinformed, but the deep settled assurance that what
God has said He would do, He is more than able and willing to do. Does that describe your