Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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What is Faith? 10/19/2104
Grace mercy and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Our meditation is in the book of Hebrews, 11:1-16 and I present the text in outline form.

Today, Sunday, October 19, 2104, we have a guest speaker from the Spruce Grove Apostolic Lutheran Church to share the Word of God with us. In lieu of that, I will place here a writing that was written a couple of years ago which should help us understand the next two chapters that we are coming to in our study in Paul's letter to the Romans. If God so permits next Sunday the message will be from the 4th and 5th chapters of the letter, with the bulk of time being in chapter 5. May the Lord continue to bless our studies in this letter during the month of October as se remember the Protestant Reformation and its emphasis on the reality that we are justified by faith, i.e. that God is faithful to His promises and by trusting in Him we are declared right before Him as being without sin......

What is Faith?
KJV Hebrews 11:1 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.

Abel lived by faith
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.

Enoch lived by faith
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.

Noah lived by faith
7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

Abraham lived by faith
8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.
9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:
10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

Sara lived by faith
11 Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.
12 Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.
13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.
15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.
16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

Dear friend,

Have you met Abraham, whom the Bible calls the father of faith? He is well known in the Bible and if one is somewhat familiar with the Bible, it is difficult to miss his role in the history of the church. He is first mentioned in Genesis 11:26 by the name Abram (exalted father) and later his name was changed to Abraham (father of a great multitude) in Genesis 17:5. He was the ancestor of Jesus Christ and it was through his descendants that Christ was born into this world. (Matthew 1:17) God called him and gave him this promise of the blessing that would come through his family, sayiing that ALL the families of the earth would be blessed. My friend, that includes you and I.

KJV Genesis 12:1 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee:
2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:
3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

He like all of us at times struggled with taking God as His Word, and therefore had conversations with Him about the future. Here is one of those conversations....

KJV Genesis 15:1 After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.
2 And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?
3 And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.
4 And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.
5 And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.
6 And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

Abram had heard the voice of the LORD speak to him (Genesis 12:1-3) and in time the LORD brought him more information/details about the future. He told him not to fear the future, for "I am your shield (defender/protector) and your exceeding great reward." In other words, what I have promised through you and for you is very very great!

Abram, like any interested person, asked for clarification of that vision that came to him from the Lord. He was told that it would not be someone else's seed through whom the Promise (Christ) but it would be through his seed. To encourage Abram, the LORD then took him outside, pointed him to the heavens and all the stars, and told him that his descendants will be as numerous as the stars of the heavens.

Abram took God as His Word, and it was chalked up as rightness with God for Abram. This is why Abraham is called the father of faith in the Bible.

Faith means to place our trust in God through Christ, believing God for our future. We are trusting our life in the hands of God, for the future that He has in store for us through Christ.

Hope we think of as our desire, something we would like to see happen, but in biblical language hope refers to the future promises of God, which have not yet taken place, but will most certainly happen. Our hope is like the anchor of the soul, for we believe God for our future.

Even though faith and hope may be distinguished from each other, yet they are very closely related. Faith is what gives substance to our hope.

How do we know that the future promises of God will come to pass? Because we trust God, for people of faith are those who trust God. It is because of the faithfulness of God that we have assurance for the future. Because we have faith, there is hope. Without faith, there is no hope. People have hope today, but not all are putting their hope in the Promise of God, which means they have a hope that is not biblical and it is a hope that will leave them disappointed.

All these people lived their lives in trust of God. They were sinners just like we are which means that they yet struggled with doubt and disappointment which caused them to forget the Promise at times. But through it all they took God as His Word. May we do the same in our lives.

When we succumb to unbelief, it causes us to fear the future, by making assumptions about the future. Here are two more examples of our forefathers who looked to the future, one lacked faith and the other possessed faith. David thought he knew the future, but did he? He knew that Samuel had anointed him to be king of Israel, but fear caused him to lose sight of God's promise.

David´s fear
KJV 1 Samuel 27:1 And David said in his heart, I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul: there is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape into the land of the Philistines; and Saul shall despair of me, to seek me any more in any coast of Israel: so shall I escape out of his hand.

And Apostle Paul's faith
KJV 2 Timothy 1:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

Is tomorrow seen by us? No, we are finite humans and cannot see tomorrow. We don't know about tomorrow, but we know He holds the future. Many things about tomorrow, we don't understand, but we know He holds our hand.

Recently when I asked a brother as to how I could pray for him, this is what he said: "Pray that I would trust in God who is unseen and that I would not fear the seen circumstances!"

May that be our prayer for one another.

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 19 Oct 2014 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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