Right off the bat, I would like to say that the book of Hebrews is not only about Chapter 11. What I find is that many preachers and teachers will only take a few verses from the book of Hebrews to merely bring out a point for the rest of their sermon but never really delve deeper into the rest of the book. Chapter 11 of Hebrews, which talks about faith, is one popular chapter used. And many times, the entire chapter is not even expounded upon but only the first few verses. Then what we often end up with is a quasi understanding of faith and not the full understanding of what the author is saying about faith. We miss what the author is trying to say and we end up forcing our own understanding into the text. This study/survey of the book of Hebrews is intended to bring a deeper understanding of this often overlooked book and to bring about the spiritual awareness intended by the inspired author.
Now, with all that being said, let us look at Hebrews 11. Now I realize that I just went through an entire spiel about focusing on chapter 11 too much, but I find it fitting to start at the conclusion so that we might understand the rest of the book. Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Allow me to divert a moment to bring out a point. The word “science” means the systematic knowledge of the physical and material world gained through observation and experimentation. The “naturalist scientist” believe that everything in life can be explained by way of science. Everything in life can be explained by way of observation and experimentation. Of course, this kind of worldview excludes God from the picture. But does anyone know that you can’t experiment with God. On the other hand, Psalm 34:8 says: taste and see that the Lord is good. You have to taste, you have to partake of God, you have to experience him not attempt to simply experiment. But then the Christian begs to ask the question, well who do you study love and truly understand it in a meaningful way. How do you experiment and observe the feelings someone gets when they see something beautiful. Yes you can observe the responses of the body, but what is it that triggers those responses in the body.
I brought this all up to say, there are things that are unseen which cannot be explained by a naturalistic science. The bottom line is that there is a spiritual world that has more effect on the physical than the physical things do. Hence there is a world that is completely unseen. A spiritual world that can only be perceived by spirit. And that is the realm in which faith works. Faith brings substance to the unseen. Faith makes the unseen spiritual world come alive in your life. Faith gives you vision of the unseen without the use of your natural eyes. Faith helps your unseen spirit to communicate with the unseen world of God.
The conviction of things not seen. I’ve said this in times past that a conviction is a strong belief system within a person that if changed, it will redefine who that person is. So a young child is taught by her mother not to lie. She is taught that liars cannot be trusted and if she lies her words will be of no use to anyone. And above all, a lie is sin and it separates you from God. That young child for years have believed that and lived her life by it. At 22 she gets a high paying job that will change the life of her family. But she finds out that her boss is messing with the numbers and is stealing from the company while accounting for it as a business expense. The boss knows that she knows and threatens to fire her if she tells. There is an investigation and she is asked. Her conviction, above all else, is to not lie. She might end up loosing her job and making it more difficult for her family financially. But there is a conviction within her that says it is better to tell the truth than to even slip a small lie through the cracks to save her job. That teaching from her mother was embedded within her spirit. It was embedded within her core. Telling a lie would mean a massive upheaval within her spirit. It would change everything within her.
Faith will operate when we have gained that conviction for the goodness of God. Faith will operate, when we bear conviction of the sovereignty of God, the goodness of God, the riches of God, and his love towards his children.
Romans 10: 16-17
16But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” 17So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
And based on today’s teaching I can substitute the word hearing for the word conviction. The word hearing in the text means listening with understanding, accepting it, and willing to obey it. We ought to make ourselves meek like little children. Little kids these days are like little sponges. They’ll suck up everything you say. It is so that we ought to be teachable. Accepting God’s sovereign word and be moved to obeying it.
Numbers 21: 8-9
8 The LORD said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” 9 So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, he lived.
There is no doubt that the bronze snake is symbolic of Jesus Christ on the cross. And those who looked upon it lived. And it is so today that those who look upon the son of God who died on the cross, who believe and do not doubt will also live. That is the aim of the author of Hebrews. He wants his readers to look upon Jesus and get their eyes off their current situation. Not falling back into the sacrificial system that they recently left. Yet look to the sacrifice from heaven. Therefore, its not just having a conviction of anything but being convicted of what Christ has done on the cross at Calvary. Having that conviction
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