Friday, October 25, 2013

What is Faith? Part 15 of 31

TEXT: Hebrews 11

IDEA: The life of faith is the only life that pleases God.

PURPOSE: To help listeners distill the core teaching of Hebrews 11.

We've spent months working our way through Hebrews 11. After looking at all of the people held up as examples, what is the point of this chapter?

I. Faith is the only right path for God's people.

The heroes of faith lived faithfully even though "none of them received what was promised" (11:39).

Some did receive certain promises (11:11, 33), but they did not receive the "definitive fulfillment of God's promise"—the eternal inheritance through the new covenant established by Christ.

When we read in Hebrews 11:40 that "God had planned something better for us that only together with us would they be made perfect," the sense is that historically these people didn't experience the new covenant in the coming Messiah. But now they are made "perfect" seeing that the great community of faith that had lived for God throughout history has been "brought to fulfillment."

Their faith is now vindicated because God has broken into the world in the person of Jesus Christ. So now they know the perfecting power of Christ's sacrifice and the eternal inheritance of the saints.

II. Hebrews 11 was given to encourage first-century Christians (and us) to live boldly for God.

The chapter has many different examples of faith, but together they present one simple message: the life of faith is the only life that pleases God.

We see this in the constant repetition of "by faith," calling us to the way in which we must live for God.

We are tempted to live by performance.

This example list gives voluminous evidence that faith is the posture by which people live lives of purposeful impact by and for God.

These great heroes of faith in Hebrews 11 are merely representatives of a much larger host to whom God offers commendation.