Hebrews 11:1-7 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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Faith the Pleases God
Comments for Study 8

Hebrews 11:1-7
Memory Verse 11:6a


I. Basic Christian Faith (1-3)

>1. What is the author's definition of faith? What are the things that we hope for and yet we do not see ? What is the character of Christian faith in view of verse l?

Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."

* "Now faith" -After exhorting the Hebrew believers to continue serving God in the midst of hardship the author gives many examples for faith from the Old Testament. He starts by defining faith.

* "sure of what we hope for" -What do believers hope for? The author has been mentioning many hopes. For example: "(God's) Son, whom he appointed heir of all things" (1:2), "(His) throne, Oh God will last forever and ever" (1:8), "righteousness will be the scepter of (His) kingdom" (1:8), "(His) enemies a footstool for (his) feet" (1:13), "we see Jesus now crowned with glory and honor" (2:9), "brining many sons to glory" (2:10), "Jesus calls them brothers" (2:11), "He shared in (our) humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death--that is, the devil-- and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death." (2:14-14) Read the letter again to see yourself.

* "certain of what we do not see" -We do not see a lot, but we believe they are true. We believe all the people and events in the Bible are true. We believe in the trinity. We believe in the glory and joy of the coming kingdom of God. we believe in eternal life with Jesus and his people.

* If our hope is big we will obey Jesus. If we have small faith will we maintain and maybe even slip away.

>2. Why is it significant that the ancients were commended for their faith by God?

Hebrews 11:2 "This is what the ancients were commended for."

* The author begins in Genesis mentioning all those who had faith. Our faith is not something new. Many had that faith before. They still have it. Some are listed here.

>3. What fundamental truth about the existence of all things rests on faith? Why is it so important in our daily lives to have creation faith? Why can this fundamental faith only be understood by faith?

Hebrews 11:3 "By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible."

* "understand" -We know how God made the universe in general while not knowing the specifics.

* "was formed" -like a sculptor or a potter. "Katartizo" in Greek translated in the KJV "framed".

* "at God's command" -The universe was created with the word of God. (Gen. 1) Jesus is the word of God. (John 1:1-3)

* "what is seen" -Blepo in Greek meaning only the sense of vision.

* "was not made out of" -That which we see was in a different invisible form. Genesis 1:1-2 speak of it.

* God created all, controls all, and owns all.

* We believe this by faith since we were not there to witness it.

* Comprehending all that took place is not needed to believe by faith. This however, does not mean that trying to understand in wrong.

* For the last few hundred years those who believe in creation as described in the Bible are ridiculed more and more. More and more those who live by faith in the Bible are persecuted by those who reject it in part or whole. Those who persecuted then claim that Bible believers are closed minded and hateful. Jesus said, "Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come." (Matt. 24:9-14)

* The list of people that followed were all persecuted because they had faith. Why? The author of Hebrews has stated that God is refining our faith through these.

II. The Faith of Abel, Enoch, and Noah (4-7)

>4. How was Abel's sacrifice different from Cain's? (Gen. 4:1-5) How did God witness to his faith? Why could Abel only go to God "by faith"?

>5. What is the evidence that faith pleased God? What was it in Enoch's life that pleased God?

Hebrews 11:4 "By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead."

* Abel and Cain are found in Gen. 4.

* "a better sacrifice" -Both offered a sacrifice as their worship. Abel had faith in his worship. Cain just went through the motion of worship.

* "was commended as a righteous man" -God wants us to have faith in our sacrificial worship offerings.

* "righteous man" -He did what was right in the eyes of God.

* God sees our heart. He knows why we do what we do. He looks to see if we live by faith. James 2:18-19 states, "But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that--and shudder."

* "he still speaks" -Able is with God alive and speaking.

>6. What does the Bible tell us about Enoch? (Gen. 5:22,24) What does it mean to walk with God?

Hebrews 11:5 "By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God."

* Enoch is found in Genesis 5:18-24. Also see Psalm 49:15 and 73:24.

* "was taken from this life" -He is one of the few that physically did not die.

* "one who pleased God" -When we live by faith God is pleased with us.

* Just before Jesus comes he will remove those who believe in him and are eagerly waiting for him as he did Enoch. (1 Cor. 15)

* Enoch lived in a very sinful age. Life was very hard for him. Got took him away without killing him because he had plans for him.

* Genesis 5 says that Enoch walked with God. He had a personal relationship with God.

* What does it mean to walk with God? 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 states as the author of Hebrews did, "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." Also 1 Thessalonians 2:12 states, "encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory."

>7. What two things must we believe about God in order to have faith that is acceptable to him? Why is each important in our life of faith? How can we best please God?

Hebrews 11:6 "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."

* "without faith it is impossible to please God" -Religion without faith is despised by God. Worship without faith is not worship acceptable to God.

* "must believe" -No doubt.

* "that he exists" -There is a God. He is Jesus.

* "that he rewards" -Not necessarily in this life. I wrote of this in my manuscript The Beleiver's Future - Hope that Inspires.

* "who earnestly seek him" -They do not have a passive half hearted religion. Jesus taught,"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it." (Matt. 13:44-46)

>9. According to Hebrews, what did Noah believe? What were the things "not yet seen"? What does it mean to have "holy fear" of God's word? Why wasn't it easy for him to hold God's word absolutely in his time?

>10. How did Noah show his faith? How was his faith rewarded? In what respect did Noah's faith condemn the world?

>11. What can you learn from these verses about faith that pleases God?

Hebrews 11:7 "By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith."

* Noah is in Genesis 5:28-9:29.

* "when warmed about things not yet seen" -God warned his whole generation. He was the only one who believed.

* God is warning our generation of the coming judgement by fire.

* "in holy fear" -Fear the Lord is the beginning of wisdom as stated in Proverbs. When I was a very new believer many years ago I did not understand what it was to fear God. "How can anyone fear a loving God." Then the Lord showed me what fear of the God is and how it compels us to live a righteous life by faith. He did this thru reading Galatians 5:19-21, "The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God."

* "built an ark" -His faith and fear caused him to action.

* "to save his family" -He was not selfish.

* "condemned the world" -When the ark was finished, God brought the flood. For this reason Satan and his followers want to destroy God's people in this age and time.

* "became heir" -We too become heirs as the author of Hebrews has stated earlier.

* Ephesians 2:8-10 states, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."