13 May 2000

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report"-Hebrews 11:1,2 Faith is a powerful weapon. It is a part of the Christian armor. Paul refers to it as the "Shield of faith". As the warrior would hold his shield before him as he advanced in battle, the Christian holds his faith ever before him as he marches though this world. Simply put, faith is believing that God will do what He has said. That is why faith is so powerful. It attaches itself to God by one or more of His promises. This eleventh chapter of Hebrews is appropriately titled, "The Faith Hall of Fame". As we read it, we discover that it was by faith that the Saints of old, the "elders", attached themselves to God and obtained a "good report". Let us learn from our "elders". UNDERSTANDING BY FAITH "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God"-v3. Faith goes against our natural reasoning. Therefore one must have faith to understand the things of God. In this sense, faith is like an internal communicator. It enables us to understand what God has said through His word and applies it to the head and heart. Man, left to himself, will never understand the biblical account of creation. If Genesis 1:1 is viewed with a skeptical eye, what will be done with the rest of the book? When God spake to the "elders", they took God at His word and acted accordingly. They didn't say, "Are you sure about that, the scientists and learned scholars of our day speak contrary to your report". No, they believed God and obtained a "good report". The student obtains a good report card by learning from the teacher and passing the test. So by faith we obtain a good report from God by believing His word and responding faithfully. OFFERING BY FAITH It was by faith, that Abel, long ago, "offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain." By this we learn that whatever we offer, whether it is our selves or our substance, it should be offered by faith. The faith offering is an offering that demands nothing of God in return. It is offering because we love God. It is giving back to God a portion of what He has already given to us. By this we may also understand that we can give with the wrong motive. Those that promise twenty dollars in return for your ten have the heart of wicked Cain. When Cain and Abel brought their offering before God, He looked upon their hearts and saw two different hearts. One heart was happy to offer. A heart of praise, expecting nothing, is never disappointed. God rewards this kind of heart. The other heart was prompted by pride, expecting praise. As Jesus said of those like Cain in His day, "They have their reward". The praise of men! Offering by faith is the true love offering. PLEASING GOD BY FAITH From Enoch we learn that it is by faith that we please God, "for before his translation he had this testimony, the he pleased God." How can a child please his father if he does not believe the things that his father says? Though God has spoken many things to us through His word, things hard to be understood, a childlike faith in those words is pleasing in His sight. Whether it is duty or doctrine and practice, our reliance upon God's word is pleasing to Him. One day, they looked for Enoch and he was not found. God was so pleased with him, that He translated him. How great was Enoch's faith! God took him on up to glory! The Lord willing, we will continue our discussion of "The Faith of Our Fathers' next week. Come and worship with us at Harmony Primitive Baptist Church, in Donaldson, where God is sovereign, and salvation is by His abundant and amazing grace. Visit our web page at www.primitivebaptist.org/donaldson/ Singing begins at 10:30 each Sunday morning followed by preaching at 11:00. By His mercy and grace, Neil Phelan, Jr., Pastor