The American Wisdom Series

Pamphlet 1980 Hebrews kc 19-1

"What is faith?" Believe it or not, most Christians do not know
for most have not read the Word of God.

In our last study, Paul made a strong appeal to us by explaining
that we need to "Hold fast the profession [conviction] of our faith
without wavering (for He is faithful that promised)".

In order to do that, i.e. to hold fast, we are going to have to believe and trust in God
by knowing with "full assurance" that He is faithful to every promise He has ever made...
to those who diligently seek Him.

Of course that precludes that one must first know what the "promises" are
He has made to those who love and serve Him.

Believe it or not, most Christians do not know
for most have not read the Word of God
and fewer yet have ever diligently (sincerely) studied it to show themselves "approved unto God,
a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15)"!

So "What is faith?"

And if a person has it, doesn't common sense tell us there must be some reason,
some foundation we can point to, that causes them to possess it?

Well, today as we begin this 11th chapter of Hebrews,
Paul is first going to explain to us what faith is
and then bring forth the testimonies of those who possessed it
and acted upon it during their many trials and tribulations
demonstrating to us that God indeed IS FAITHFUL!

(By the way, none of the people Paul will discuss in this 11th chapter
exercised their faith in believing and trusting in God because they were afraid of burning in hell,
but rather for their love of God and the hope of the fulfillment of His glorious promises.)

Here then is the definition of "faith":

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Since it is so important to understand what Paul is teaching us here concerning faith,
let's dig a little to gain a deeper understanding, beginning with taking a closer look at the word "substance"
which is translated from the Greek word hupostasis.
"Hupo" is a preposition which means "under" or "underneath" (like "sub" in sub-stance)
and "stasis" (from histemi) means "to stand" (like "stance" in sub-stance) or "support".

"Hupostasis" therefore means the foundation (under you)
upon which you stand to support your convictions (faith),
i.e. your belief in the faithfulness of God to keep His promises (the things hoped for).

That foundational support had better be the Rock, the Word of God,
or as it is written you will be swept away in the great flood of lies and deception in these last days.

The question therefore is: "Do you follow Christ, the Word of God,
or do you follow men's church traditions like most Christians?"

The reason for the question is that if you do not know
and do the things He commands, why would you expect Him to reward you at His coming?

Consider what Jesus Christ has to say on the matter:

Luke 6:46-49 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?
Christ tells us in the following verse what He wants us to do.
[47] Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like:
Here is what to do: Open your Bible and prayerfully go to Him, to Jesus Christ, the Word of God, and hear His Voice, and then do as He commands... not the commands of preachers and ministers who tell you that following their church traditions are pleasing to God.


Because if all you ever do is go to church and follow after the traditions of men,
though you "think" you stand (1 Cor. 10:11-13), you will have no "substance",
no foundation under you upon which to "hold fast without wavering",
(Hebrews 10:23 "Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised)."

The point is, if you work in the field, if you plow and dig deep into the Word of God
and lay that foundation under you, then you are indeed a "wise"
and unshakable servant of God who shall be able to hold fast without wavering.

[48] He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.

[49] But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.

So ask yourself another question: "How much substance supports my faith?"
Dr. Bullinger in his "Greek Lexicon and Concordance to the English and Greek New Testament", Kregel Publications, pg. 746, defines substance (hupostasis) as: "what is set or stands under; underlayer, prop, foundation; that which lies at the foundation of a matter; confidence;". He also points out in the Companion Bible, pg. 1839, that the word "substance" was "used of title-deeds in the Papyri" (Companion Bible, pg. 1839).

If you have a "deed" to something, it is the proof, the evidence, that you own it!

You see, the Word of God (the Bible) is that title-deed that is the proof of your inheritance,
for if you are a child of God you are an heir to the promises God has made to those who love Him,
even the promise of eternal life as a joint-heir with Jesus Christ.
Romans 8:17 "And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ;
if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together."

Think about it for a moment.

If you possess the legal deed to an estate, for example,
even though you may have not even visited the mansion,
you still have the evidence in the title-deed you hold that it belongs to you, right?

Paul is going to make the point that our forefathers who had unwavering faith
because they "believed" God and what He said was true,
all died never having received all the promises.

For example, Abraham "who looked for a city which has foundations,
whose builder and maker is God", though he never possessed it had the faith,
i.e. he knew with certitude, that someday he would!

Hebrews 11:2 For by it the elders obtained a good report.
The phrase "obtained a good report" is derived from the Greek word "martureo"
which means to "be a witness".

You "see", our elders not only pleased God as His faithful servants but we have their testimony,
their "good report", their witness to the immutable fact that God keeps His promises... every single one of them.

However, we must believe and endure,
having patience knowing that all things work according to His will!

That takes the exercising of "faith"!

Advertisers know well how that many people are convinced by testimonials,
even those of complete strangers like in an Infomercial,
that a product or service is good and worthwhile having or pursuing.

But we have the testimonials of our own family,
our elders and forefathers who have all TESTIFIED to the faithfulness of the Word of God.

Seeing then the witness of their trust and faith (belief in God),
serves to increase our faith by underlying the foundation upon which we stand.

Again, that is why Paul exhorts us so in 1 Cor. 10:11-13 to "take heed"
to the things which are written because they show us that God IS faithful to all His promises.

Here is what he writes after speaking about Moses and our forefathers:

1 Cor. 10:11-13 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

[12] Wherefore let him that thinketh he standethtake heed lest he fall.

If you are going to make it to the end, through the darkest hour of this final generation (Mk. 13:13),
you are going to have to have trust and faith in God...
not in believing some non-Biblical fairy tale that He is going to rapture you away
and take you out of tribulation...
but in having the faith to "holdfast without wavering"
which is the subject Paul has been speaking about since the 23rd verse of the last chapter (Heb. 10:23).

Therefore, if you take the time to read and understand all the testimonials in the Word of God
you will find supporting evidence through the witness (testimonials)
of all those who have gone before us that the following verse is true,
the point being that GOD IS FAITHFUL!

His promises to you, to be with you unto the end and reward you for your faithfulness,
are as sure as the sun coming up in the morning!

However, you must believe and step forward and claim the title-deed to those promises.

[13] There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
In other words, you are not going to be tempted (tried) with anything not covered in the Word of God!

Furthermore, as the evidence of the witnesses show He always does,
your Father will provide a way for you escape from falling whereby you may stand
and holdfast without wavering, and be able to endure unto the end!

(Matthew 24:13 "But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved."

To study the Bible is the noblest of all pursuits; to understand it, the highest of all goals.
We pray that with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, you accomplish both.

The "American Wisdom Series"


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