The People of Faith-Lessons from Hebrews 11
Dear friend, What do you do when you pray and pray, but see no answer to your prayers? Unanswered prayer in the life of a believer can be extremely discouraging. Think about someone who has cancer? A believer decides to pray without ceasing. Prayers made in faith that God would heal. Yet with all of this, still God does not answer with healing!
When God did not heal her son, one woman said, "I will never bother God again!"
Another mother said she had given up on prayer because she had prayed for eighteen years that God would use her daughter on the mission field, but instead she married an unbeliever man and isn't serving God at all.
Christians pray for many things that don't happen. Many get discouraged when God doesn't come through the way that they expect Him to. With that in mind, I want us to consider the matter of faith. Please note four observations about faith that we can see from Hebrews chapter eleven, the great faith chapter.
I. Sometimes Faith Changes Our Circumstances.
A. Note The Examples From Heb. 11:23-35a
B. Consider The Miracles Even Today.
1. Sometimes God chooses to do miracles in response to our prayers.
2. Sometimes He delights in taking difficult circumstances, turning them around, and making them into blessings
3. Sometimes God does exactly what we ask Him to do, and we can stand up and give praise to Him for His goodness.
II. Sometimes Faith Does Not Change Our Circumstances
A. Note the examples from Heb. 11:35b-38
B. They saw no deliverance, and no miracles.
C. Where was God? Why didn't He deliver these faithful ones?
D. How do we answer the questions about atrocities and horrible calamities?
E. God didn't intervene, but still they believed that God knew what He was doing.
III. People of faith never-judge God by Circumstances.
A. One of our problems today is that we have circumstantial theology...
1. The sun is shining, we are healthy, we are enjoying prosperity ... My! how God loves us!
2. But what if it storms? We lose our health? If the bottom drops out of the economy?
3. Does God still love us? Or more importantly, do we still love Him?
4. John 11:5, "Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus."
a. "Lazarus is dead!" Vl4
b. When God takes a loved one from us, we begin to question God's love.
c. My brother when mom died... "why did it have to be my mother?"
B. Men and women of faith....
1. Do not judge God by circumstances.
2. They say, "God says He loves me and I will keep on believing that He loves me, even in the face of difficult circumstances."
3. That kind of faith is honoring to God!
C. Note: Romans 8:35-39
1. Paul said, "who shall separate us...?"
2. Circumstances do not separate us from the love of God!
3. God is with us, always! Even during the dark days!
4. You know the feeling you have up in the mountains or out on a beautiful lake?
5. But it isn't the beauty of nature that assures me that God is with me.
6. It is because God said in His Word that He would never leave me nor forsake me.
7. His Word, not circumstances, is the basis of our faith.
a. Retreats, revivals, and seminars are great, but God is just as real and just as powerful in our day to day existence.
b. Remember Peter on the mountain top he wanted to stay up there, but the work of God waited at the foot of the mountain.
IV. Faith isn't merely receiving from God the things that we would like to receive..... Faith is being able to accept whatever God gives us.
A. Often He gives us things we don't want.
B. Many times He doesn't arrange the circumstances the way that we would like to see them arranged.
C. Yet, faith keeps on believing anyway!
D. Sometimes, God allows people to suffer, and even die, without deliverance.
E. Note: Daniel 3:16-18
F. That kind of faith always leads to victory. V39-40
1. These died having not received the promise ... But God did not fail them!
2. Jesus is our great example. Cf 12:l-3
a. God could have delivered Him
b. He could have called l0,000 angels
c. He could have simply spoken and it would have been done immediately.
d. Note: Philippians 2:5-11
G. Consider John the Baptist. Mt. 11:2-6
1. John was in prison and he began to doubt God.
2. He sent two disciples to question Jesus' authenticity as the Messiah!
3. What caused him to doubt? V 2
4. Jesus was not doing things the way John expected the Messiah to do them.
5. Jesus gently rebukes John in v6.
"Blessed is the person who doesn't get upset at the way I do things."
It is very easy for us to selfishly pray that God would make life convenient for us.
1. Lord, do this and do that ...
2. Lord, give me this and give me that ...
3. And sometimes God grants those requests.
But we ought to consider Jesus' prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. Note: Mt. 26:39
+++++ THY WILL BE DONE++++++