Thursday, 25th February 2021
Rev Daniel Xi An Poon
Section One: V1-12 What is Faith?
V1 faith is in something we hope for but not yet happened. The meaning of substance here consists the meanings of ‘stand’ and ‘under’, it’s a firm foundation, just like building a house on the rock. The things we hope for should be built upon our faith. So how can we have this faith? How can we believe without seeing the evidence? We need to have faith in the things we hope for, the things God promises us through the Holy Bible.
V2-3 we can see from the testimonies of the lives of the people, who once lived, to find faith. We have faith in the things unseen, just like the wind, we cannot see wind, but we see the tree branches being blown, we see the influence of the wind. From the stories and characters in the Bible, we learn from their faith, even though they no longer lived, their lives still tell us stories. This is faith, the influence of faith sustains even after they died.
V4-7 by faith, people can receive blessings. Enoch walked with God when he was on the earth, because of his lifestyle and his testimony, we can see his faith, which influences the generation. Without faith we cannot please God, this faith brings us closer to God. Having the true faith is not saying that when we have faith then we can do a lot of things I want to do, but to do the things God wants us to do! Do we have the faith to carry out the things our church and our authority instruct us to do? Even though we have a busy schedule, or even though the things seem impossible, will we still do it?
When we fast and pray, do we really seek God and to come before Him, receive the mercy and grace? Why do we need to come before God? To receive His strength, to have this faith that He rewards those diligently seek Him. His reward is not something we want, such as a job or a car, but to be able to complete the mission impossible by receiving the strength from Him.
Noah did not see his own future, but he saw the future of mankind and was willing to obey; Moses saw the Heavenly sanctuary and remembered every detail to build it. They revere God because they know their mission impossible cannot be done by their own strength. Where does our strength base on? Our strength or God’s strength. Do we believe that ‘we can’ or ‘God can’?
Noah built the ark for 100 years, the world laughed at him, but he had faith in God. There may be some things we have been praying for and God has already revealed to us, but we are still waiting, and when we still don’t receive it, we try to act out in our own way. We thought that if we don’t do it, then how will God do it for us? We forgot what happened with Joshua and his army, when Joshua was standing outside the City of Jericho, he saw the Commander of the Lord, who told Joshua that God will fight for them. In the same way, by faith, Noah’s family was saved, and the world was condemned and destroyed.
V8-12 by faith, Abraham was called and went out to receive the land as inheritance. But at the time he did not know where he was going. Abraham was willing to go out even when he didn’t know the way, he left the place, where it was full of idol worshipping. Abraham did not know where he was going but by faith, he was the visitor of the land. He lived in the tent with his family all his life, it means that we need to set our eyes on the Kingdom of God, not on the earth. The things of the earth are just like shadows, which don’t last forever.
Abraham was wise, he put his hope in the Heaven and lived all his life in the tent. He knew the promise he was waiting for is eternal and is built by God Himself in Heaven. Not only he believed it himself, but he also brought this promise to his next generations, Isaac, Jacob, and his descendants. Can we bring our promises from God to our next generations? God is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as leaders, can we bring our faith to the next generation and their next generation? May God help us to live out this influential testimony for others to see.
We need to stop focusing on what is right in front of us, we should learn from Abraham, who was willing move around his tent for God, to walk with God.
Section Two: V13-31 Examples of Faith
These heroes of faith died without receiving what God promised them, but they happily welcomed the promise to come. Is our joy being built upon what we have already received? Do we live in the material world, that we must hold physically what God promises us? Or can we simply have the joy for God’s promises in our lives? No one knows the length of our lives, but is our life a good testimony for others?
V23-25 When Moses was born, he was a baby and he did not know God, then he grew up in the palace of Pharaoh’s daughter but not willing to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. Why would Moses know such things? He must have heard it from his mother. When we heard teaching from our authority, do we believe it is from God? Faith is not only about listening to God but also listening to our authority.
Our faith should be according to the law of the Kingdom of God, to believe the authority God has set up for us is to help us to reach His promises. By faith, Moses led the Israelites through the Red Sea, his faith was built upon the Word of God, and the faith of the Israelites was built upon Moses’ words. Is this really that simple? By listening to Moses’ instructions, the Israelites walked on the dry land, they didn’t know if the walls of the sea will collapse and they must be scared. The Israelites had faith in God and were able to cross the Red Sea. Whereas the Pharaoh’s army had the faith in themselves, which led to destruction.
Anyone can have faith, but faith of the world brings death and faith of the Kingdom brings life.
Section Three: V32-40 Victory by Faith
Samson did not trust in God but his own strength, but at the end he knew his life was short and he chose to kill the enemies of Israelites. Out of our weakness we will be made strong. Don’t sit in one place and tell ourselves that we are failures. God uses us not because we are strong but because we are weak. When we rely on God and fight for God in our weaknesses, then God can change the weas into strong, make us become valiant in battle. God has already prepared for us the better promise.
Are we willing to trust in God’s promises? In the Bible, God said he will give us land as our inheritance, He will set us apart from this world, and He will make the weak strong and valiant in battle. We must come out from the selfish desires and thinking about ourselves, and focus more on the Kingdom of God, by faith we will surely receive.
Pursuit & Respond
Dear Lord Jesus, reveal Your Will in our lives, we bring before You our unbelief, we long to receive this faith of the Kingdom and receive victory. We want to trust You more and rely on You more. We want to turn from our evil ways and follow You. You have given us spiritual authorities, please give us this faith to follow without doubt!
We admit that we are weak, when we want to live out Your promises and Your perfect will for us, we grew weak. Lord, help us to believe in Your promises. Bless us, Lord, by faith we can receive this assurance from You. Give us strength, this morning we can be made righteous by faith, and can align with our church. By faith, we can receive the blessings and promises from You. Through this time of fasting and praying, by faith, we want to live out the testimonies to glorify You, let our hearts desire more of the unseen promises from Your Kingdom. Amen!
1，本章一开始就告诉我们什么是“信”-“就是所望之事的实底，是未见之事的确据”。“所望之事”是盼望的、未发生的事，“实底” – 英文讲“substance” – 就是基础，是建在对耶稣基督的信心里；“确据”- 原文是说证据。所以信心不是相信自己的愿望，而是我们对神借着圣经所应许的东西的盼望。我们要用信心去领受神所应许给我们的一切话语。
4-5，我们可以看到神如何借着这些人的见证让我们效法他们的信心。这些人虽然已经不在了，但他们的信心仍然带来影响力。人因为信得到神的祝福 – 比如以诺（v5)，他借着在世上的信心的生活影响了那个时代，在活着的时候就蒙神喜悦，以致被神接走。
23-26, 亚伯拉罕有信心，是因为听到神对他说话。但也有其他例子 – 例如，v23-24, 摩西当时还没有看到神，但因为他母亲的教导他就愿意去相信。我们是否愿意相信神借着我们的权柄跟我们说的话？信心不仅是听圣经的话，也去听权柄的话，相信神给我们设立在地上的权柄是让我们能更加得到他的应许。