Disciple Up #261
Contact, When Faith & Reality Collide
Part Two: The Nature of Faith
By Louie Marsh, 6-1-2022
The American philosopher Henry David Thoreau is famous for the remark “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.” That is a good description of the men and women listed here. They hear another drumbeat which others do not, and this accounts for the way they often act contrary to normal expectations. The first three examples, Abel, Enoch and Noah, show us the nature of faith. The rest show how faith behaves in real life.
1) Faith in Christ makes what I do PLEASING TO HIM.
4 By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts…Hebrews 11:4a (ESV)
The word “acceptable” is pleiona, which means “greater” or “more important” as suggested by its use in
23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Luke 12:23 (ESV)
The reason suggested is that it came from a heart made righteous by faith!
9 …For we say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. Romans 4:9b (ESV)
“Sacrifice is acceptable to God not for its material content, but in so far as it is the outward expression of a devoted and obedient heart” FF Bruce
Cain’s offering was rejected because a heart of pride and self-sufficiency lay behind it. This explanation fits well with the context of Hebrews where the writer repeatedly warns against possessing “an evil heart of unbelief.”
2) Faith continues to speak long after I am GONE.
And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks. Hebrews 11:4b (ESV)
10 And the LORD said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground. Genesis 4:10 (ESV)
24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. Hebrews 12:24 (ESV)
It is often suggested that the blood of Abel cries out for the final vindication promised to all the saints (2 Thessalonians 1:6-7), but the blood of Jesus speaks of proffered forgiveness.
“6since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, 7and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels” (2 Thessalonians 1:6–7, ESV)
3) Faith makes me PLEASING TO GOD.
5 By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. Hebrews 11:5-6 (ESV)
- Enoch didn’t follow God for 65 YEARS.
21 When Enoch had lived 65 years, he fathered Methuselah. 22 Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Genesis 5:21-22 (ESV)
- He CHOSE TO FOLLOW GOD after his first son was born.
5 The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Genesis 6:5 (ESV)
- I cannot find or please God apart from having faith in His SELF-REVELATION.
4) Faith MOTIVATES ME.
7 By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household…Hebrews 11:7a (ESV)
17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. James 2:17 (ESV)
- Faithful acts make the world’s corruption PLAIN.
By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. Hebrews 11:7b (ESV)
19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. John 3:19 (ESV)
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