Sermon #51                                                       Hebrews Notes


     Title:       The Nature and Blessedness of True Faith

     Text:       Hebrews 11:1-6

     Readings: Lindsay Campbell & Wes Rozeboom

     Subject:  Saving Faith

     Date:       Tuesday Evening – April 17, 2001

     Tape #   



In the Hebrews 10 the Spirit of God gave us words of warning, encouragement, and instruction about true persevering faith, that faith by which chosen, redeemed sinners are experimentally united with Christ, that faith which does not draw back unto perdition, but perseveres and continues to the salvation of their souls. In this 11th chapter the inspired writer speaks of the nature of faith, the works of faith, and the response of faith to the Word of God. Then, the chapter concludes by giving us numerous examples of Old Testament saints who believed God.


     Tonight, I want us to look at verses 1-6. The title of my message is The Nature and Blessedness of True Faith. Let’s read the passage together. Then, I want to show you six things which define, identify, and characterize, true saving faith.


[Hebrews 11:1-6]  "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. [2] For by it the elders obtained a good report. [3] Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. [4] By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh. [5] By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. [6] But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."


I.       First, in verse one, the Apostle Paul tells us that faith is the substance of things hoped for.


[Hebrews 11:1]  "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."


What are the things for which we hope? -- Eternal salvation and deliverance, -- perseverance in Christ, -- eternal glory, and – everlasting fellowship with God.


Faith is the ground, foundation and support of our hope. We have a reasonable, well-grounded hope of these things, of eternal salvation and all that it includes, because we believe God, because we have confidence in his Word.

·        Faith gives us the possession of these things beforehand.

·        Faith gives us the reality of them, -- the firstfruits of them (Rom. 8:23).

·        All these things are certain, as certain and sure as the very throne of God; but our faith gives us confidence concerning them (Rom. 4:17-25; Acts. 27:21-25).


[Romans 4:17-25]  "(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. [18] Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. [19] And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb: [20] He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; [21] And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. [22] And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. [23] Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; [24] But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; [25] Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification."


[Acts 27:21-25]  "But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss. [22] And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man's life among you, but of the ship. [23] For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, [24] Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee. [25] Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me."


II.               Look at verse one again. “Faith is the evidence of things not seen.”


[2 Corinthians 4:17-18]  "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; [18] While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."


·        Things Done In Eternity -- The Council, Covenant And Purpose Of God.


·        Things Done In Time -- Incarnation, Death And Resurrection Of Christ.


·        Things Done Now -- Intercession, Providence, Work Of The Spirit.


·        Things Future -- Resurrection, Judgment, Eternal Glory.


These are all unseen things; but faith in Christ gives our hearts proof and evidence of them. His Word, his Spirit, his work of grace in us assure us of all (Rom. 10:17; Heb. 13:5,6).


[Romans 10:17]  "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."


[Hebrews 13:5-6]  "Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. [6] So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me."


     Now, look at verse two. Here we are called to remember that God’s saints of old walked by faith just like we do. The only difference between their faith and ours is this. – They didn’t have near as much to go on as we do. We have the whole Revelation of God in Holy Scripture. They didn’t. But they had the very same faith we have.


[Hebrews 11:2]  "For by it the elders obtained a good report."


These elders were men of faith who lived in the earliest days of the Old Testament. -- Abel, -- Job, -- Enoch, and --Noah.


These men were justified and accepted in Christ, through faith, just like we are, -- not because of their works. Paul mentions this because the Jews tended to elevate the elders too highly. Here the Holy Spirit tells us that Abel, Enoch, and Noah were all saved by grace, through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, just like we are (John 8:39).


[John 8:39]  "They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham."


III.           Here’s the third thing I want you to see. – True, saving faith is given understanding in the things of God.


[Hebrews 11:3]  "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear."


A man of faith understands how all things were created. The visible creation was formed from nothing. It all came into existence by the command of our God, who made all things out of nothing and gave it form as it pleased him (John 1:1-3; Col. 1:16-18).


[John 1:1-3]  "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. [2] The same was in the beginning with God. [3] All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made."


[Colossians 1:16-18]  "For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: [17] And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. [18] And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence."


     As we understand the works of God in creation and providence only by faith in his Word, only by bowing to his Word, so we understand the works of God in grace and in judgment, because we have the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:12-16).


[1 Corinthians 2:12-16]  "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. [13] Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. [14] But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. [15] But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. [16] For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ."


Note: From verse 4-40, Paul gives examples of faith among the Old Testament believers; before the flood, from the flood to Moses, from Moses to the prophets, kings and judges.


IV.            Let’s look at verse 4. Here is the fourth thing I want you to see about faith. – True saving faith receives the witness of righteousness before God, the witness of the Spirit that we stand righteous before God by blood atonement.


[Hebrews 11:4]  "By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh."


Abel brought a blood sacrifice to God because he believed God! By nature he was no better than Cain; but his sacrifice was, because his sacrifice typified and pointed to Christ. It was a lamb, the firstling of the flock. It was slain Its blood was poured out before the Lord.


Cain's offering was one of his own works, a bushel of turnips raised by his own hands. It had no reference to Christ at all.  Abel was not righteous by nature, nor by his faith, but by Christ, to whom his offering looked. He received the witness of his acceptance in his conscience by God the Holy Spirit.


He being dead yet speaketh!” -- He is dead. Yet, his faith and the example of it speak loudly. In these two men (Cain and Abel) the world's two religions are pictured -- Salvation by Christ or salvation by human works!  (Gen. 4:3-5).


[Genesis 4:1-5]  "And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD. [2] And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. [3] And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. [4] And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: [5] But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell."


     You and I receive witness of our righteousness before God in exactly the same way Abel did. As we believe God, we have the witness of God the Holy Spirit, by his Word, that we are righteous, totally, completely righteous before God by the blood of Christ.


[John 16:8-11]  "And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: [9] Of sin, because they believe not on me; [10] Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; [11] Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged."


[Romans 8:16]  "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:"


[Hebrews 9:12-14]  "Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. [13] For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: [14] How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?"


[1 John 5:7-13]  "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. [8] And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. [9] If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. [10] He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. [11] And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. [12] He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. [13] These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God."


V.   Fifth, I want you to see that true saving faith gives believing sinners the witness and testimony of God the Holy Spirit that in Christ, because of Christ, we please God (v. 5).


[Hebrews 11:5]  "By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God."


Enoch was caught up to heaven, not temporarily as Paul, but like Elijah, forever!  He was changed from mortality to immortality without dying. There are several things to be seen here.


1.     There is an intimate relationship between this life and glory. -- Enoch walked with God on earth, and one day he didn't return. God took him to glory (Phil. 1:21-23; 2 Cor. 5:1-8).


[Philippians 1:21-23]  "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. [22] But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. [23] For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:"


[2 Corinthians 5:1-8]  "For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. [2] For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: [3] If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. [4] For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. [5] Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. [6] Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: [7] (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) [8] We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord."


2.     Old Testament believers knew, expected and enjoyed eternal life through faith, just as we do (Rom. 4:3).


[Romans 4:3]  "For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness."


3.     He went to heaven, as some shall at the coming of Christ, without dying (1 Cor. 15:51-52). – “We which are alive and remain shall be caught up together” with those who have gone before us into heaven.


[1 Corinthians 15:51-52]  "Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, [52] In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed."


4.     The resurrection of all believers is here exemplified. -- Enoch went to glory as a whole man, body and soul (1 Thess. 4:13-18; 1 Cor. 15:42-44).



[1 Thessalonians 4:13-18]  "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. [14] For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. [15] For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. [16] For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: [17] Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. [18] Wherefore comfort one another with these words."


[1 Corinthians 15:42-44]  "So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: [43] It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: [44] It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body."


5.     But the primary thing to be learned here is the fact that Enoch walked with God by faith. -- It is faith that pleases God (John 6:28,29). – And it is faith that receives testimony from God that like Christ, because we are in Christ, the Father says of us – “I am well-pleased!


VI.            Look at verse six, and I will show you the sixth and last message of our text. –Faith, true saving faith, is believing God.


[Hebrews 11:6]  "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."


Without faith it is impossible to please God.” -- Those who are without faith are without Christ (Rom. 8:8; Eph. 2:12-14). Chirst is our peace! Christ is our Wisdom! Christ is our Righteousness! Christ is our Sanctification! Christ is our Redemption! Christ is our All!


Here are the three vital, essential, basic, fundamental aspects of all true faith.


1.                Faith is coming to God (Heb. 7:25).


2.                He that cometh to God in Christ, must believe that he is. Must believe that God is -- not only that there is a God, but that God is who he says he is -- Father, Son and Holy Spirit, as revealed in the blessed Scriptures.  He is holy, eternal, unchangeable, love, mercy and truth. He is the God of creation, providence and grace.


3.                He that cometh to God must believe that he is and believe that he is the Rewarder of them that diligently seek him.


Faith is not believing that God can do anything. Faith is believing that God will do everything he says in his Word he will do. Faith is always connected with the Word of God. We must believe that God will fulfill every promise and purpose toward believers in Christ Jesus.


There is but one way to seek God, and that is in Christ. True faith actually believes and is confident that God will give us all that Christ purchased (Rom. 8:31-34; 1 Cor. 1:30).


[Romans 8:31-39]  "What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? [32] He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? [33] Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. [34] Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. [35] Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? [36] As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. [37] Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. [38] For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, [39] Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."


[1 Corinthians 1:30-31]  "But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: [31] That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord."