Hebrews 11: 1-22 – The Word of the Text

You may or may not know that our Rooted in Christ readings this year have been following the texts that we preach from each Sunday in worship here at St. Matthew’s.  This has been an interesting experience, as I think that these guides give a deeper understanding of the texts that we are preaching on each Sunday in worship.  For the next few weeks we are going to be looking at the Saints that are mentioned in Hebrews 11, as we see their examples of faith.  We will be looking each week at a different account, but this week we are going to be looking at the whole of Hebrews 11.  We’ll break this chapter down into two “readings” for us to look at it a little more deeply this week.

Today we’ll look at the world of the text of verses 1-22. You can read the passage by clicking here.

This passage starts off with one of the more well-known passages in the Bible.  We see here a clear understanding and teaching of what faith is.  It is about holding to and believe in what is unseen.  Namely, God.  We believe in what we do not see, we hold to what we do not see.  How do we know?  Faith.  It is a leap and it is a trusting.  Faith is not an intellectual belief system, it is putting in our trust in someone we can’t see.  Faith is believing where our eyes cannot see.  It is hard.  That is why it pleases God, because it is it totally and complete faith and trust.  That is what it take to please God.  Something so little, but so big.

As we read through our passages today, we are told about Able and his sacrifice.  Enoch and how he pleased God (which is only possible through faith), Noah and his belief of God’s warning without seeing it, Abraham going to where he did not know, and being willing to sacrifice his very son, all because God asked.

These actions typify faith and even the results typify faith, because each of these saints mentioned didn’t receive what they longed for in this life.  Their reward was not something that they could see, at least in this life. Their reward was something that was to come in the life that has yet to come.

That takes faith.  It takes faith to cling to something we cannot see, to cling to someone we cannot see.  Faith is that evidence what it is unseen, it is that conviction.  And in many ways as scripture tells us, it is a gift.  It is awoken by God’s spirit, grown by His spirit, and completed by His spirit.

With the lading of that spirit, however, we have to take that first step.

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