This week’s R2R distinctive
Faithfulness (Proverbs 3:3-4): I have established a good name with God and with others based on my long-term loyalty to those relationships.
This week we ascend to one of the great mountain peaks of Scripture–the Symphony of Faith found in Hebrews 11. From its opening melodic notes found in 11:1– “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen”–to the climactic, triumphant conclusion in 12:1-2– “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God–Hebrews 11 is truly a masterpiece of biblical proportions!
We will cover the entire chapter in one week. A church could easily spend a good part of a year covering the many examples of faith found in Hebrews 11, and we did! If you are interested in much more detail on any portion of this great chapter of the Bible, go to http://myffc.co/byfaith2011, which you will find all of the sermons we preached from Hebrews 11.
For our purposes this week, we will focus on the essential part faith plays in preserving our soul. Remember, as we concluded Hebrews 10, we looked at the importance of enduring to the end, and the danger of discarding our faith in Christ. Faith is at the very center of our Christian life, but it is important to note that God grows our faith through trials. As you read Hebrews 11, note the challenges that confronted each of the men and women who lived a life of faith. They are not commended for their faith because life was easy and without challenges. No, they are viewed as heroic examples of faith because they persevered through trials.
To drive home this point, the writer declares, “Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword” (11:35b-27a).
Faith is more than just a feeling, it is the very “substance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Charles Spurgeon aptly notes, “.” If you love darkness, and are satisfied to dwell in gloom and misery, then be content with little faith; but if you love the sunshine, and would sing songs of rejoicing, covet earnestly this best gift, “great faith.” May we be a church of “great faith,” and may we one day be seen as a “great cloud of witnesses” by generations that will follow in our footsteps.–Chris Eller
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