RADICAL FAITH: Faith perfects us (Hebrews 11:32-40) - June 28, 2020
Radical Faith perfects us. Faith may seem like a personal choice, but it is a communal choice. We are all in this together.
“And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.
These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.”
Hebrews 11:32-40 NIV
I. FAITH PERSEVERES
“To live by faith is to live joyfully, to live with assurance, untroubled by doubts and with complete confidence in all we have to do and suffer at each moment by the will of God. We must realize that it is in order to stimulate and sustain this faith that God allows the soul to be buffeted and swept away by the raging torrent of so much distress, so many troubles, so much embarrassment and weakness, and so many setbacks. For it is essential to have faith to find God behind all this.” - Jean-Pierre de Caussade, 1675-1751, in Discipleship Journal, issue 40
A. Faith continues through all adversity.
B. Faith continues.
II. FAITH PERSEVERES WITHOUT RECEIVING WHAT HAD BEEN PROMISED
A man named Smith was sitting on his roof during a flood, and the water was up to his feet. Before long a fellow in a canoe paddled past and shouted, “Can I give you a lift to higher ground?” “No, thanks,” said Smith. “I have faith in the Lord and he will save me.”
Soon the water rose to Smith’s waist. At this point a motorboat pulled up and someone called out, “Can I give you a lift to higher ground?” “No, thanks. I have faith in the Lord and he will save me.” Later a helicopter flew by, and Smith was now standing on the roof with water up to his neck. “Grab the rope,” yelled the pilot. “I’ll pull you up.” “No, thanks,” said Smith. “I have faith in the Lord and he will save me.”
But after hours of treading water, poor, exhausted Smith drowned and went to his reward. As he arrived at the Pearly Gates, Smith met his maker and complained about this turn of events. “Tell me, Lord,” he said, “I had such faith in you to save me and you let me down. What happened?” To which the Lord replied, “What do you want from me? I sent you two boats and a helicopter!”
A. Faith as a means to achieve is not faith.
B. Faith as a means to receive is not faith.
C. Faith as a means to self-fulfillment is not faith.
III. FAITH PERFECTS
A. We are not “plan B;” we are the fulfillment of the plan.
B. We are perfected together.
C. Faith is always communal.
“He is the author and perfecter of our faith.”
“On April 30, 1976 Evelyn Mooers attached a rappelling rope to a drain pipe grating on the roof of the Mark Twain South County Bank. Mooers, an experienced climber, had once scaled 14,410-foot Mt. Rainier in Washington state. The rappelling exercise from the bank building would have been routine but for one miscalculation. The drain pipe grating wasn’t anchored.
Numerous bank officials and their friends watched as Mooers plummeted to her death. Her faith in the grating was fatally misplaced.” - Today in the Word, May, 1990, MBI, p. 16
Faith in Jesus is our only hope.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
John 3:16-17 NIV
“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.””
Acts 4:12 NIV
“For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people.”
1 Timothy 2:5-6a NIV
What promises of God have not been realized in your life to this point? Write down 3 promises of God that have not been fulfilled yet? How can you support a fellow Christian in remaining faithful? Who will you support this week? Support that person in prayer and in action.