Fearless Faith – Hebrews 11:1, Dr Fred Fitzgerald, Teaching Team

My prayer is that this message helps us understand what faith looks like operating in our life.

How your fearless faith is activated in your life:

(1) Hear the voice of God

(2) Lay hold on God and attach yourself to Him

(3) Grasp His promises and personalize them

(4) Allow his pruning in your life without becoming bitter or angry

(5) Rest in Him

(6) Let the flaming arrows of the wicked be quenched

(7) Be confident in your place in the kingdom of God 

Fearless Faith

Hebrews 11:1

Introduction: 

Efforts to explain faith often fall short because it is an intangible that cannot be experienced with the natural senses or felt in your spirit.

 It is in essence, the heart’s work toward the promises of God, and toward the God of the promises.

So I believe, faith is better understood by examining it in action rather than by trying to analyze it alone, apart from its action in the life of the possessor of it.

Let’s put the pieces of the Faith puzzle together then, and see if a clear picture of the operation of Faith in the life of a person won’t begin to emerge.

  1. Faith hears the voice of God through the cacophony of voices that demand your audience.
  1. Galatians 3:2 says, 

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Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? 

The voices of this life speak loudly; but faith is able to sort through them all and to distinguish the voice of God in the midst of them.

The voice of conformity cries out, “You don’t want to be different! You don’t want people to think you are weird! You have to live among these people so you have to dress, look, talk, and act like them”!”

 But faith says, “I would rather be right with God than be accepted by man.”

The voice of reason says, “How could a good God allow all the suffering in this world. 

We need real answers and just believing in God is not fixing the problems.

 We need to invest more money in science and research.”

Galatians 1:4, speaking of Jesus says, 

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 “who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,”

 So, Jesus doesn’t intend to fix this present world. 

He intends to deliver us from it; and place us in a perfect world. 

So, faith says, “I choose that world.”

Matt 6:33 and no one’s idea of God is more important than anyone else’s. 

It would be arrogant to claim your God is more important than someone else’s god.”

But faith, speaking of the Lord Jesus, says, (Acts 4:12)

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 12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

The voice of materialism cries out, “You have to be somebody! 

You have to be successful!

 If you’re going to be successful, you have to remain focused and be willing to do whatever it takes to advance your career goals.”

But faith says, (Matthew 6:33)

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 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

The voice of indifference says, “Forget God; enjoy your life; you can deal with the hereafter later.”

But faith hears the voice of Jesus saying

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(Matthew 11:28)

28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” 

and chooses to ignore the demanding voices, to obey the voice of God instead.

The voices of this world are loud, but faith hears the voice of God through the cacophony of voices demanding your audience and listens to His voice instead of them.

  1. Faith reaches beyond this world into eternity, and lays hold on eternity’s God.

Speaking of Moses, Hebrews 11:27 says, 

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27 By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible.

Faith deems eternity’s God more valuable than this world’s king.

Faith gives spiritual eyes to your heart and makes it able to see Him Who is invisible.

Faith’s enabling you to see the Unseen God of eternity produces an endurance that boggles the mind, and defies explanation to the causal observer.

Truly, faith’s endurance is beyond human understanding.

Hebrews 11:36–40 describe the kind of endurance faith can generate.

G. Let’s read Hebrews 11:36–40.

 ALL READ.

36 Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 

37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— 

38 of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. 

39 And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised,

 40 since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.

According to Verses 39 & 40 they endured these things through faith.

By faith they reached beyond this world into eternity, and laid hold on eternity’s God, enduring unspeakable atrocities, counting eternity’s God more valuable than anything the king of this world could offer them.

Faith is the hand of the heart that reaches out to the universal offer of forgiveness, and grasps it for yourself.

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Romans 10:13 says, 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved

Faith reaches out to the offer to “whosoever” and accepts the offer as being personal to you.

One commentator has said: God has redeemed the world unto Himself through the sacrifice of His Son; but it is personally appropriated only through individual faith that reaches out for the offer and accepts it as being “yours”.

There is no forced acceptance, or blanket coverage of forgiveness.

While it has been made available to all by the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, it is only given to those who personally receive it by faith.

It cannot be earned and it cannot be qualified for.

 It is a gift that can only be received by the heart’s hand of faith reaching out to receive it.

Ephesians 2:8 & 9 describe it like this,

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,

 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 

Forgiveness, salvation, being born again, is all by the grace of God; it is all the gift of God; but it only becomes yours by the action of your heart reaching out with the hand of faith and accepting it as being yours personally.

. So, faith is the hand of the heart that reaches out to the universal offer of forgiveness and grasps it to be yours personally.

Faith allows God to pry your grip from everything sacred to you, that He might be all you possess.

When you get saved, God begins a process of prying your hands loose from all you hold onto that He might be your only Possession.

Faith allows this without becoming bitter at Him for doing so.

Initially you resist, often become angry and bitter during the process, and experience the deep loss that accompanies losing something valuable to you.

But, in the end, faith kicks in and submits to God’s clutter-removal plan for your life.

While all things you hold are difficult to release, there are some that prove particularly difficult to let go of.

The ability to control or affect your circumstances is very difficult to turn loose.

As long as, you are in control, though, faith will never operate at maximum capacity in trusting God through the myriad of circumstances that confront you.

So, with your great reluctance, God, step by step, pries your grip loose from control in your life.

Among those that are most difficult to let go of, are those God-ordained responsibilities;

 those responsibilities that you feel have been given you by God Himself and you are doggedly determined to fulfill because of your commitment to be faithful to God.

These would include family members. 

Sometimes God removes family members from our lives and it seems our world has come to an end.

 These would also include ministries, or ministry related responsibilities.

 Sometimes God removes the very ministry He has called you to in order to remind you He is to be the focus of your life; not your service to Him.

Sometimes we become so engrossed in the ministry of God we neglect the God of the ministry.

Apostle Paul understood this action on the part of God, and its purpose.

In Philippians 3:8 he proclaims,

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 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ”.

God often must crush the superficial in us, in order to rebuild us as substantive spiritual men and women.

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I Samuel 2:6 & 7 describe the process this way, 

6. The Lord kills and brings to life;
    he brings down to Sheol and raises up.
The Lord makes poor and makes rich;
    he brings low and he exalts.

This process, in the book of Hebrews is called chastisement.

It not only includes correcting wrongdoing, but also removing weights that hold us back from all that God intends us to be.

Hebrews 12:1 says, “…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us…”

So, weights as well as sins can inhibit our growth and spiritual progress.

Hebrews 12:11 describes this process of chastening like this

, 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

There is a joyous yield to those, who by faith allow God to pry their grip loose from everything sacred to them, that He might be their only Possession.

5. Faith is an oasis of rest from the demands of justice.

Hebrews 4:9 – 11 say, 

So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, 10 for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.11 Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.

Justice demands – you must work; you must meet my demands, or you will pay the price if you do not fulfill all.

Faith says – I haven’t met the demands; but the price has been paid. I therefore, rest in the paid price, without having to struggle to meet the demands.

They are not exempt from the demands, or the price for failing to meet them, who confront justice apart from faith.

Those who rest in faith, however, have found an oasis in the desert of death.

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Hebrews 4:2 describes the differing conditions of each like this, 

For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened.

So, faith provides the rest of exemption from the demands of the law and from the penalty for those who fail to keep the law.

While others struggle to please God on their efforts and merits, faith rests in righteousness that has already been purchased for you and imputed to you.

The labor you offer now is simply the labor of a loving child who wants to bestow some good deed on the One Who has captured your heart.

Oooooh the peace that is wrought in the heart of the one whose faith rests securely in the finished work of the Lord Jesus on his behalf!

Romans 5:1 says,  Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Truly, faith is an oasis of rest from the demands of justice.

Faith is the shield that quenches the wicked’s flaming arrows.

Ephesians 6:16 says,

 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;

The wicked, inspired by Satan, hurl their fiery, flaming arrows at you, intending to destroy your enthusiasm, your work, and your passion for the Lord.

They want to render you ineffective in the kingdom of God, and miserable in your own life.

Ahhh, but faith rises up and says, 1 Tim 3:12

12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,

The shield of faith rises to say, “Rather than accepting your flaming arrows as discouragement, I count them as confirmation that my life is counting in the kingdom of God.”

Ssssst! Fiery darts quenched!

What power does the fiery dart of the wicked have to effect damage in your life when the mighty shield of faith rises and the fiery dart sinks harmlessly into it like a flaming straw falling into a lake of water?

Faith is the shield that quenches the wicked’s fiery darts.

Faith is the substantive witness of the unseen kingdom of God within you.

Those who look for confirmation of God’s yet unseen kingdom in the natural world will meet with disappointment.

Their dreams often go unfulfilled; and their expectations often go unmet.

Thus, looking for confirmation of the reality of God’s kingdom through the circumstances of life, or the expected intervention of God in them, often proves to be disappointing.

In Luke 17:20 & 21 Jesus said,

 “…20 Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, 

21 nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”[

Faith then is the substantive confirmation of the unseen reality.

Our text Verse for this message, Hebrews 11:1 says, 

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Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen

Faith is the witness inside you confirming the unseen reality of the existence of what God has promised.

Faith, also, is the witness to those around you, that the unseen kingdom of God is just as real as the very visible world in which they exist.

So, to you and to those around you, faith is the substantive witness of the reality of the unseen kingdom of God within you.

In Summary –

Faith hears the voice of God through the cacophony of voices that demand your audience, and answers the call.

Faith reaches beyond this world into eternity, and lays hold on eternity’s God.

Faith is the hand of the heart that reaches out to the universal offer of forgiveness, and grasps it for your self.

Faith allows God to pry your grip from everything sacred to you, that He might be all you possess.

Faith is an oasis of rest from the demands of justice.

Faith is the shield that quenches the wicked’s flaming arrows.

Faith is the substantive witness of the unseen kingdom of God within you.

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One might say –

Faith hears

Faith sees

Faith grasps

Faith allows

Faith rests

Faith quenches

Faith witnesses

A QUESTION for us this morning:

Has your faith lifted you out of the mire of effort, 

self-pity, 

hopelessness,

 struggle, 

confusion, and purposelessness? 

And instead built into you, peace, confidence, joy, rejoicing, expectation, rest, and purpose?

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If it has not, the Word of God in Romans 10:17 says,

 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

This morning you have heard the Word of God. 

Now that your faith has been activated, exercise your faith in the areas that have been presented to you:

(1) Hear the voice of God

(2) Lay hold on God and attach yourself to Him

(3) Grasp His promises and personalize them

(4) Allow his pruning in your life without becoming bitter or angry

(5) Rest in Him

(6) Let the flaming arrows of the wicked be quenched

(7) Be confident in your place in the kingdom of God