Sermon:  A Faith that Moves You


Summary:  True biblical faith is not a feeling or unreasonable belief, but is the conviction and certainty of God, who he is, what he has done, what he said he will do, and what he has instructed us to do, which involves heartfelt, faithful worship, daily devotion, service and ministry in order to please God.


Know:  Faith that gains God's approval is devotion, conviction, and commitment to God


Feel:  The desire to grow in faith by walking with God


Do:  Understand the definition of faith and compare it to other definitions of faith.  Discuss what we can learn about faith from the examples given and summarize characteristics of faith as taught by these examples.  After discussing reasons we can have faith in God, identify challenges to your faith and ways to overcome these challenges. 


Text:  Heb 11:1-7


Scripture Reading:  1 Jn 5:4-5



1.  We talk a lot about faith as Christians.  What is faith?

            a.  Dictionary definition in World English Dictionary

                        - strong or unshakeable belief in something, especially without

                           proof or evidence

                        - a specific system of religious beliefs: the Jewish faith

                        - Christianity  trust in God and in his actions and promises

                        - A conviction of the truth of certain doctrines of religion, esp when

                           this is not based on reason

            b.  Hollywood definition (Quotes from various movies about faith):

                        - In The Body - "Religion does not exist based on a rational system

                           of proof, but because of man's need."

                        - In Keeping the Faith - "Faith is a feeling, faith is a hunch.  It is a

                           hunch that there is something bigger connecting it al, connecting

                           us all together, and that hunch is God.

                        - Many examples of this in movies and literature.

            c.  One kid simplified it  - Faith is believing  in what you know isn't so

                        - In other words, it is unreasonable, and without proof or evidence

                        - It is a commitment to a feeling or hunch, subjective

            d.  Is that what God calls us to have?

2.  Chapter 11 is all about faith, specifically Christian faith

            a.  Begins by defining faith (Heb 11:1-2):

                        - Substance/Assurance of things hoped for, conviction/certainty of

                          things unseen

                        - From 'upostasis - A favorite word for philosophers

                                    = Firmness, stability, foundation, reality, or simply essence

                                    = Same word to express a stable attitude, or assurance

                        - It is not a general feeling nor is it unreasonable

                        - It is the certainty of unseen realities of God

            b.  Begins with creation (v.3) By faith we understand God created world

                        - He who we can't see now had created what we can see

                        - All the trillions of factors and perfectly balanced and working

                                    = From the sequence of DNA to the amount of atmosphere

                                    = The rotation of the earth, the distance of the sun

                                    = The weight of the electron and ratio to the proton

                        - The design points to the creator even more so than the existence

                           of Windows Vista

                        - Our Lord has gone and is also preparing a home for us - Jn 14:1f

            c.  What a wonderful, wise, gracious God we have!

            d.  Will remind us why we can have faith, and not unreasonable faith

3.  He gives us this chapter so that we can understand the nature of faith

            a.  If we understand biblical faith, we can nurture and grow it

            b.  (Heb 11:4-7)

            c.  Faith is a faith that moves us.  Several ways it moves us


I.  Worship Faithfully (v.4)

            A.  God has always wanted worship that comes from faith

                        1.  God has never been impressed with thoughtless ritual

                        2.  No matter how elaborate, or impressive, it doesn't impress God

                        3.  God wants worship that comes from faith

            B.  As an examples, the text uses Cain and Abel's offerings

                        1.  (Gen 4:1-7) - The account of their offering to God

                                    a.  God had regard for Abel's offering, but not Cain's

                                    b.  Why?  Used to hear because Abel's was a blood sacrifice

                                                - But no laws had yet been given

                                                - Mosaic covenant had provisions for grain offerings,

                                                  drink offerings, and things of this nature

                                    c.  Abel offered up a better offering by faith.  How?

                                                - Offered up the firstlings to God

                                                - Instead of keeping firstlings, gave them to God

                                                - Honored God - God one who made sheep grow

                                                - Didn't give as afterthought, gave God the best

                                    d.  God was number one in Abel's life

                        2.  When they making offering at the temple, Jesus noticed widow

                                    a.  Widow gave less than anyone else, was dirt poor

                                    b.  But she gave all she had, she gave the best she had

                                    c.  She obviously knew that God would care for her

                        3.  (2 Sam 24:22-24) - An example of faithful worship to God

                                    a.  David refused to offer God what cost him nothing

                                    b.  It would not be an offering at all

                        4.  Prov 3:9 - Honor the Lord from your wealth and from the first of

                             all your produce

                                    a.  Root idea behind honor is "value"

                                    b.  How does what you give show God how you value him?

                                    c.  Not talking about money, but all of life

            C.  ILL:  Kind of like the grandmother who is getting gifts for grandkids

                        1.  Spend all day shopping, buys extravagant gift for first grandchild

                        2.  The day comes, she realizes she forgot other grandchild

                                    a.  She tells him, "hang on" - Goes back to her room

                                    b.  Comes back with gift hastily wrapped in brown paper bag

                                    c.  He opens it, and it is a random book she had on the shelf

                        3.  Has this grandmother showed value for this grandchild?

            D.  Faithful worship demonstrates, love and honor to God and number one

                        1.  God gave the very best, showed how much he values you

                                    a.  Can you imagine the incredible depth of his love?

                                    b.  Distance of the journey, from Heaven to earth - Love

                                    c.  Enormity of his suffering for our sins - Love

                                    d.  He is coming back - FOR YOU

                        2.  In response, we worship.  God is good, wonderful, marvelous

                        3.  Ps 122 - I was glad when they said to me, let us go to the house

                             of the Lord

                                    a.  It is better than going to the mall

                                    b.  It is better than going to the movies

                                    c.  It is better than going to a friends house

                                    d.  My heart and soul loves the Lord above all else

                        4.  *God blessed us so richly, our response - faithful worship, but

                             not just on Sunday..


II.  Walk Faithfully (v.5)

            A.  Faith moves us to walk with God every day

            B.  Enoch is an example of walking faithfully with God

                        1.  (Gen 5:21-24) - Enoch walked with God for 365 years!

                                    a.  Because Enoch walked with God, so God took him home

                                    b.  The only other person similar is Elijah

                                    c.  Faith means walking with God

                        2.  Heb 11:5 - He was pleasing to God.  What does that mean?

                                    a.  (Ps 69:30-31) - Heartfelt, authentic worship, not ritual

"I will praise the name of God with song And magnify Him with thanksgiving.  And it will please the LORD better than an ox or a young bull with horns and hoofs."

            - God doesn't want rituals

            - God wants our hearts, this pleases him

                                    b.  (Col 1:10) - Growing in knowing God & pleasing him

"...walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God"

            - Behavior and speech is gracious & righteous

            - Reflects that we are growing in knowing God

                                    c.  (Heb 13:16) - Doing good and sharing

"And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased."

                                    d.  (1 Cor 1:21) - Sharing the Gospel

"For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe."

                                    e.  (Mt 11:25-26) - Serving/ministering to the least of these

"At that time Jesus said, "I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants.  Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight."

            - The Kingdom is not limited to suburbanites

            - Kingdom is for the least of these

                        3.  Sum it up, pleasing God means loving God                            

                                    a.  That means we love what he loves

                                    b.  That means his priorities are our priorities

                        4.  2 Cor 5:9 - We make it our ambition to please God

                                    a.  First thing we always consider - does this please God?

                                    b.  Since I love God, I want to please him in all I do

            C.  ILL:  Walking with our Lord means following in his footsteps

                        1.  Thomas a Kempis wrote:  Jesus has many who love his kingdom in heaven, but few who bear his cross. He has many who desire comfort, but few who desire suffering. He finds many to share his feast, but few his fasting. All desire to rejoice with him, but few are willing to suffer for his sake. Many follow Jesus to the breaking of bread, but few to the drinking of the cup of his passion. Many admire his miracles, but few follow him in the humiliation of the cross.

                        2.  Phil 3:10 - I want to know Christ and the power of his

                             resurrection, fellowship of his sufferings, conformed to his death

            D.  Jesus poured himself out for us, we pour ourselves out for Him

                        1.  Jesus had to live by faith as a human, so he walked with God

                                    a.  His life was shaped by prayer

                                    b.  He spoke only what the Father told him to speak

                                    c.  His works were the works of the Father

                        2.  This is what it means to walk with God

                                    a.  Our life is shaped by prayer

                                    b.  We speak what our Father instructs us to speak

                                    c.  Our works are works of the Father

                        3.  God took Enoch, and someday he will take us home as well

                                    a.  What a marvelous, faithful, dependable God we have

                                    b.  We walk with him now, and will see him face to face then


III.  Work Faithfully (v.7)

            A.  Faith leads us to work and minister for God

            B.  Noah's work was by faith, and it saved him

                        1.  Think about the faith this took to build & collect animals

                                    a.  God told him he would destroy the world by flood

                                    b.  Doesn't tell him to get to high ground, everything will flood

                                    c.  Noah builds a 450X75X45 ft boat on dry land

                                    d.  Took 120 yrs to build.  Think he had second thoughts?

                        2.  2 Pet 2:5 - Noah preached during the building of the Ark

                                    a.  Wanted to spread the news of impending disaster

                                    b.  Obviously, no one listened, but he preached anyway

                        3.  Says - In reverence he prepared the ark

                                    a.  Syn:  Respect, regard, awe, devotion, honor

                                    b.  He honored God through his obedient trust

                                    c.  Even though it was unusual, sounded far-fetched

                        4.  Because Noah was devoted to God, he did as God instructed

                                    a.  We also do as God instructs because of our devotion

                                    b.  2 Cor 5:14 - Says the Love of Christ compels us

                                    c.  He love us, and we love him, so we serve him

            C.  ILL:  There are many ways we serve Him

                        1.  Stacey and I were downtown, ran into a old guy walking

                                    a.  Said he just came out of the hospital, no money

                                    b.  We offered to get him something to eat

                                    c.  Took him to the Corner Pharmacy, got food

                        2.  God is redeeming the world to himself through our work

                        3.  Some say many bad things done in name of Christ, but overall

                              impact has been a positive one.  Here is a list

                                    a.  Eradication of slavery

                                    b.  Opposition of infanticide in ancient Rome and now

                                    c.  Eliminating gladiatorial games

                                    d.  Building of hospitals and hospices

                                    e.  Elevating the status of women

                                    f.  Promoting higher education

                                    g.  Producing great works of literature and philosophy

                                    h.  Creation of great, beautiful works of art

                                    i.  Establishing modern science

                                    j.  Composing brilliant music

                                    k.  Advocating human rights & concern for the poor

                                    l.  Changed lives and the salvation of souls

                        4.  What if Jesus were never born and there were no Christians?

                                    a.  What kind of world would we live in?

                                    b.  What kind of hope would there be?

                                    c.  Thank God that Jesus came and worked and ministered

            D.  Now, he calls us to work and ministry in the name of Christ

                        1.  Like Noah, we may not save bunches of people

                        2.  But we are serving in order to please our God

                        3.  Mother Teresa said, "God gave us nothing less than himself,

                              can we him give any less?"



1.  v.6 - Says, "Without faith it is impossible to please him"

            a.  Faith is not just a feeling as we have seen

            b.  Faith is not believing in what you know aint so

            c.  Faith is believing in what you know IS so, and devoting your life to it

2.  v.2 - Says we gain approval to God by our faith

            a.  Have you placed your faith in God?

            b.  If you have not, then today is the day (inv)

3.  If you have, remember that faith is a faith that moves you

            a.  Faith means we worship God faithfully

            b.  Faith means we walk with God faithfully

            c.  Faith means we work for God faithfully

4.  We do this because of our faith, our certainty of what is not seen

            a.  Abel still speaks today because of his faith

            b.  Enoch was taken by God because of his faith

            c.  Noah was saved from the flood because of his faith

            d.  They are with God because of their faith


Small Group Notes:  A Faith that Moves You


Summary:  True biblical faith is not a feeling or unreasonable belief, but is the conviction and certainty of God, who he is, what he has done, what he said he will do, and what he has instructed us to do, which involves heartfelt, faithful worship, daily devotion, service and ministry in order to please God.



- When do you find it hardest to trust?


Explore: (Heb 11:1-7)


1.  Define what biblical faith is according to this passage.  Why is faith important?


2.  Discuss faith as demonstrated by Abel (Gen 4:1-7).  What are some characteristics of faith we can learn from Abel?


3.  Discuss faith as demonstrated by Enoch (Gen 5:21-24).  What are some characteristics of faith we can learn from Enoch?


4.  3.  Discuss faith as demonstrated by Noah (Gen 6; 2 Pet 2:5).  What are some characteristics of faith we can learn from Noah?


5.  How does the biblical definition and description of faith compare to other notions of faith? 





6.  What are some reasons you can have faith in God?


7.  What are some things that challenge you in your faith, or threaten to weaken your faith?


8.  What are some ways to overcome these challenges to faith?