Walk By Faith
11 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. 3 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.
There was a teacher who wanted to introduce her students to the theory of evolution and the origin of the universe, but she had an outspoken young boy who was a Christian and she knew that he would surely give her a hard time. She thought and thought about how she could get this young man to accept these theories that she knew in her heart were true. Finally, she had a plan. On the day she wanted to start teaching these theories, she called the young boy to the front of the class and told him to go over to the window and look outside. When he did, she said, do you see the grass outside? Yes, the young man said. Do you see the trees? Yes, the young man said. Look up into the sky and tell me what you see up there. I see clouds. What else do you see? Nothing but sky. The teacher said; then you don’t see god up there? The boy said well no I don’t actually see Him. That’s because He doesn’t exist the teacher said. Please go back to your seat so we can go back to our lesson. When the boy went back to his seat, he asked the girl sitting beside him if he could ask her some questions. He said this loud enough for the teacher to hear him. He asked. Do you see the teacher up there? The girl said yes. Do you see her clothes? The girl said yes. Do you see her arms? The girl said yes. How about her head, do you see that? The girl was starting to get irritated with him and said of course I see her head but what is your point. I just have one more question for you. Do you see a brain in her head? The girl said of course not. Nobody can see your brain. The boy said then does that mean she doesn’t have one?
How are we to walk worthy of our calling? How we are to walk worthy of our citizenship in Heaven? The Bible has much to say about our “walk” in this life. When the bible talks about a persons walk, it is talking about a persons life, how they live and how they present themselves in the world.
In Ephesians we are told to walk in humility. In Romans we are told to walk in purity. In 1 Cor contentedness. Ephesians, different from the world, in love, in light, in wisdom and in John we are to walk in truth. So…with that being said, “walking by faith”, is a very challenging task. And at times, when you try to “walk by faith”, doubt comes along with it.
Today I want to start with the essential. What we must do in order to walk with the Lord.
In order to please God and to even be a Christian we must WALK BY FAITH.
There are three things that I want to bring out this afternoon about this “walk by faith”.
THE FIST THING IS THAT FAITH HAS A DEMAND AND THAT DEMAND IS ACCEPTANCE.
We must first and foremost accept who God is, vs3 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.
By faith, we understand and acknowledge that God created what we see. By faith we acknowledge the power and majesty of our Creator. By faith we accept God as the creator of all that is. Gen 1:1 says that “in the beginning God created the Heavens and the earth.”
If we are to walk by faith, we must first accept who God is. There’s a story about Isaac Newton that I would like to share with you this afternoon.
Newton was a scientist, a physicist, and an astronomer. His theory of gravitation was a breakthrough in science at the time. You remember the old story of Newton sitting under an apple tree and an apple falling and hitting him on the head and from this he deduced what we today call gravity.
Newton was a religious man He walked this faith that we are talking about this morning. He was a born-again Christian. Newton had a friend who was an atheist and he had tried over and over to share Jesus with him. He realized that he had to somehow get him to acknowledge that there was a God in order to talk to him about his need for God.
He came up with a plan. He spent weeks making a model of the universe. This model was an exact replica of the universe, as they understood it at that time. All the planets were placed to scale in relationship to the sun and all in their proper places. He painted them to look like what everybody imagined they would look like. He placed this model in the middle of the table in his home. His friend the atheist came by and saw it and was amazed at how precise everything was. He asked Newton who had made this model. Newton told him that he didn’t know. That it had just appeared on his table one day. He said that that was not possible. Nothing just shows up like that. Somebody had to create it and it was obvious that whoever had created it was very intelligent because of all the intricate detail. Newton continued to tell his friend that no, this just fell together and showed up on his table. His friend became very angry telling Newton that this was scientifically impossible.
Newton just looked at his friend the atheist and said ‘isn’t this what you believe about our universe? Don’t you believe that everything just kind of fell into place? That it just magically appeared. His friend got the point. There was a creator. There was intelligent design and that was the God that Newton worshipped.
Once Newton’s friend accepted that there was a God, then he could share with him… his need for Jesus. You see… “Faith” demands acceptance of who God is. The Bible says that the Heavens declare the glory of God. Once we accept who God is, we must also accept What He has done for us.
Ok…now, let’s say that we have broken through the barrier of doubt. We now believe that there is God and that He created everything that see. So…how and where does Jesus come into the picture? Keep in mind…we had just broken through the barrier of doubt that there is a God, now I have to believe there’s a Son of God?
We must understand that because of man’s rebellion against his Creator, (sinfulness), that God needed a way to reconcile man back to his Creator. God created a way back to Him through Jesus Christ. Ok now wait!!! We Just believed that there is a God, now we have to believe, that He Has a Son!
In the book of John chapter three, John tells the story of a man trying to understand what God has done for us in order to reconcile us to Him. In John chapter three we find the story of Nicodemus and his late-night conversation with Jesus. You see…it is possible to believe that there is a God and not believe in Jesus as His Son.
Nicodemus was a Pharisee, a religious man of that time. The scripture says that he was a ruler of the Jews, which means that he was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He was a very important man both in religious and political circles. Nicodemus believed in God, he already accepted the fact that there was a God, He was just trying to understand the role that Jesus had in this relationship between God and man.
The Pharisees… Nicodemus included, were looking for their Messiah. They were looking for an earthly king. In this conversation, Jesus told him that in order to get to Heaven, in order to reconcile yourself to God, you must be “born again”. Nicodemus didn’t understand and said that it was impossible for a man to enter into his mother’s womb and be re-born. Again, we see a man (Nicodemus) who believed in God, and yet had doubts with the Savior that he was talking to.
Jesus told him that it wasn’t a physical… but a spiritual birth that He was talking about. A birth from above as some have translated. A change of heart and a change in how a man thought that he was reconciled to God. No longer did man have to try in vain to follow rules and regulations to try and reconcile himself to God. All this re-birth required was an acceptance of Jesus as the Messiah, and faith in Him would remove all these rules and regulations that the religion of the day placed on people. And again…religion still place a very big role in the Christian faith, to this day!
John goes on to record probably the most recognized verse of scripture in the bible…
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
This is what Jesus was telling Nicodemus that he must believe, in order to be saved. In order to be “born again”. Faith demands that we believe in Jesus for who He is. He is our Savior. He is the reconciler between man and God. You see… it is very possible to believe everything in the Bible and yet doubt this very important verse! (John 3:16)
IN ORDER TO WALK BY FAITH, WE MUST FIRST MEET IT’S DEMAND OF ACCEPTANCE OF WHO GOD IS AND WHAT HE HAS DONE FOR US IN ORDER TO RECONCILE OURSELVES BACK TO HIM.
The second thing we see here is that if we are to “Walk by Faith” it is that this walk requires ACTION!!! Throughout chapter 11 here in Hebrews we see faith lived out. Paragraph after paragraph we see action by the “heroes of the faith” as they are called. Before we read about this action, the paragraph starts out saying “By faith”.
Their faith had led them into action. If you are familiar with chapter, there are many stories told here in this about these actions of faith, but I would like to share just one of them with you. The story of Abraham and his son Isaac found here in chapter 11 verses 17,18,19 and Gen ch22.
Let’s visit the story, shall we. One day God called out to Abraham and Abraham said I’m listening Lord. God told him to take his one and only son that had been born to him and his wife Sarah and go to Mount Moriah and sacrifice this son named Isaac.
Now I don’t know about you, but I believe that I would have said something like, “Excuse me, you want me to do what?” I don’t know about that Lord. As the story goes, Abraham didn’t question God. Abrahams faith was put into ACTION!
He got up early and loaded up his donkey with all that he would need for the sacrifice and the journey. He set out with two young male servants and Isaac. They traveled for three days and when they arrived, Abraham told the servants to stay at the base of the mountain while he and Isaac went up to worship God. They took everything that Abraham had brought with him for the sacrifice to God. Isaac noticed something. Although Abraham knew that he had all that was required, Isaac saw things a little differently.
Isaac said, father I see that we have everything needed for the alter and to burn the sacrifice with but where is the lamb that is needed for this sacrifice. Abraham looked at his son and said, God will provide the sacrifice. God will provide the lamb. (Does John 3:16 becoming clearer now!)
They went on up and built the alter and then Abraham took his son and bound him and laid him on the alter. Preparing to sacrifice him to God. He raised the knife over the young man’s chest, prepared to thrust the knife and God spoke to him again through an Angel and told him to stop. Don’t touch a hair on his head. I see your faith in action. Abraham looked around and saw a ram caught in a thicket and he used the ram for the sacrifice.
If we “walk by faith”, it will require action. James the brother of Jesus and the first pastor of a Christian church writes that faith without action is dead.
17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
If we truly have faith, if we truly walk by faith, there will be a natural action involved with our faith. Here’s another story, from a devotional.
There is a member of the church that I called Superwoman. She did everything. She worked in the nursery. She was in charge of the women on mission program. She taught Sunday school. She was on the Church Council. She cleaned the church. She cooked meals for the sick elderly and delivered them. On church work days she would be right there with the men, trimming hedges, raking leaves, cutting down trees. I learned the hard way that she was as strong as all the men. On visitation nights or special evangelism events, she was the first there and one of the last to leave.
One day as we were talking, I asked her how she kept this pace up. While she is not old, she is no longer a spring chicken. She said that as long as God would give her strength, she would continue to do what she was doing and more if she could. She told me that she did what she did because of her faith. She did all these things because of what God had done for her and also because that this is what God expects from her. You see, her faith required action.
Her faith was more than sitting in a pew on Sunday morning. She is walking by faith, She has accepted God for who He is and has accepted what He has done for her and the only reaction, the only way that she can live a life of faith is to put feet and deeds to her faith.
THE THIRD THING WE SEE, IF WE ARE WALKING BY FAITH… IS THAT FAITH PRODUCES ASSURANCE!
2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.
The “for by it” means faith. By faith, the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith, they were considered righteous. The bible says that because of his faith, Abraham was considered righteous. By faith these heroes of the faith were saved and they’re eternity was assured.
Back to the story of Nicodemus. Jesus said that if you believed in Him, if you had Faith that you would “not perish but have everlasting life”. This is the assurance we have as we walk by faith.
Ok…Nicodemus, had a hard time believing in who Jesus was, he had a hard time believing that he could be born again. Again, let me make this story clear. Nicodemus was man…a very religious man who believed in God. And yet, when face to face with Jesus, he was confused. Total opposite of walking by faith.
How many testimonies do you need to hear, in order to “Walk by Faith”?
How many times has Jesus saved you when you were in need?
How many times has Jesus answered your prayers?
Our las verse for tonight… I kind of went backwards on the sequence of these verses…
11 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
For the time being, only faith, as it receives the promises of God, can see into the future. Because “faith”, is the means by which the believer lays hold of Christ! Faith has to keep moving, action is involved. We do not loose faith because at one time we thought that God didn’t answer our prayers. We do not loose faith because we thought at one time God did not provide for our need.
Church…I can sound like a broken record, saying the same thing over and over, but the fact is…what you believe in Jesus will determine the outcome of your faith. We cannot believe in Jesus halfway…it has to be a hundred percent. We’re here…we’ve made it this far, eternity is promised. You have to believe that right!!!
Let us pray…
Pastor Richard Santos
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