We will be concluding our Come to Jesus series today. The Bible is clear that God’s love for us is great and that He longs for us to be in His presence. Jesus died so that we would have a personal and intimate relationship with Him. He does not force this to happen - He desires for us to want to be in His presence. This has to be genuine and not going through the motions out of obligation. We also see through Scripture when Jesus shows up powerfully and transformational things begin to happen. It’s important as followers of Jesus and as His church that we invite Jesus into our gatherings so that He can change us and change our city. So far we have talked about coming to Jesus in fear, with singing, and in humility. Today we will talk about coming to Jesus in faith. How can we ever expect to God’s Kingdom to be released in and through our lives if we do not have faith in God? Let’s see what the Word says about coming to Jesus in Faith.
Hebrews 11:1-6: Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation. By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen. It was by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God than Cain did. Abel’s offering gave evidence that he was a righteous man, and God showed his approval of his gifts. Although Abel is long dead, he still speaks to us by his example of faith. It was by faith that Enoch was taken up to heaven without dying—“he disappeared, because God took him.” For before he was taken up, he was known as a person who pleased God. 6 And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.
I. We encounter God through our faith
Hebrews 11:6: And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.
There are two things that this verse reveals about coming to Jesus in faith:
When we come to Him we must believe that He exists.
He is a rewarder of those who sincerely/diligently seek Him.
“The idea is not merely that God exists as a rewarder, but that He will prove Himself to be a rewarder of that person who diligently seeks Him. As Vincent puts it: “He who approaches God has, through faith, the assurance that his seeking God will result in good to himself.”
- K. S. Wuest, He Will Reward Your Seeking
I have heard many Christians use this phrase a lot:
“God will answer this prayer, if it is His will to do so.”
There are over 8,000 promises in the Bible and we can receive all of them. The more that we come to know God, the more we will see how good He is and that He loves to reward His children.
Maybe the reason prayers are being delayed is because God wants to do a work in your heart so that you will see Him as the Great Rewarder and you come with expectation to reward you.
II. What is faith?
Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV): Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
What does that mean?
Hebrews 11:1 (NLT): Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.
The word substance literally means “to stand under, to support.” Faith is to a Christian what a foundation is to a house: it gives confidence and assurance that he will stand.
Faith shows the reality of what we hope for!
The word “evidence” is elegchos (ἐλεγχος) which means, “a proof, that by which a thing is proved or tested.”
“Faith apprehends as a real fact what is not revealed to the senses. It rests on that fact, acts upon it, and is upheld by it in the face of all that seems to contradict it. Faith is real seeing.”
- K. S. Wuest
Hebrews 11:1-2 (The Message): The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd.
All these men and women are mentioned in this chapter because their distinguished them from everyone else during their time on earth.
“Jesus is the substance of God. God is the evidence of the things we can’t see.”
- Robert Morris
Here are some thoughts on faith:
Faith is not believing for something. Faith is believing in someone.
You can’t have faith in something happening. You have to have faith in God.
Faith is not the absence of difficulties. It’s the nearness of God through difficulties.
Unbelief gives a false picture of God (His character, His nature, etc.).
If we are dealing with unbelief, then we don’t have a clear picture of who God is. Regardless or whether we are facing hardships or not, God is still God. He is good, loving, faithful, holy, righteous, and just.
Let’s take a deeper look at the people who are mentioned in this chapter of faith.
Hebrews 11:13: All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth.
These individuals did receive some of the things that God promised to them, but not all. They all died still believing in what God had promised them.
In other words, they were not here when Jesus came and brought salvation to the world, but they believed that the Messiah would come one day and bring salvation to their families and the rest of the world. They saw it from a distance and welcomed it!
Their faith was not in something - it was in Someone!
Hebrews 11:32-40: How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets. By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight. Women received their loved ones back again from death. But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection. Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated. They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground. All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.
Did the people who escaped death have faith? Yes
Did the people who did not escape death have faith? Yes
Faith is not in something happening. Faith is in the person of Jesus Christ.
I believe that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego say it best:
Daniel 3:17-18: If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.”
No matter how things turn out, I am all in with Jesus.
If we expect God to move in our lives and in our city we must come to Him in Faith. That means putting our faith in the person of Jesus and not in something happening. I would like to conclude with this portion of Scripture.
Hebrews 10:19-23: And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.
It’s not about telling God what you need. It’s getting into that attitude and relationship with God where you can receive what you need when you tell Him. We come to God on the basis of what Jesus has done on our behalf. We come on the basis of Who Jesus is. Let’s come to Jesus in faith this morning. Let’s expect Him to meet us here in this moment!