The First of Three Abiding Subjects (1 Corinthians 13:13)
1. In this verse three abiding subjects are listed that we plan to study over the next few weeks. 2. Today we are concentrating on the first abiding subject -- "faith." 3. Most of our lesson will be based on Hebrews 11, but let us first touch on several verses that emphasize the importance of faith. a. (Matthew 23:23) In addition to judgment and mercy, Jesus considered faith to be one of "the weightier matters of the law." b. (2 Corinthians 5:7) "We walk by faith, not by sight." c. (Ephesians 2:8) We are saved by grace through faith. d. (Ephesians 6:16) "The shield of faith" will enable us "to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked." e. (1 John 5:4) Through faith we can overcome the world. 4. Let us turn our attention to Hebrews 11 and consider 5 things we can accomplish through faith. Discussion: I. FIRST, THROUGH FAITH WE CAN KNOW THINGS WE CANNOT SEE
A. (vs.1) Faith is defined as "the 'substance' [assurance] of things hoped for, the 'evidence' [conviction] of things not seen." B. With our faith based on God's Word (Romans 10:17), we can know: 1. things from the past we have not seen (vs.3; Genesis 1) 2. things in the future we have not seen (vs.13-16; John 14:2-3). II. SECOND, THROUGH FAITH WE CAN BE IN GOOD STANDING WITH GOD
A. (vs.2) Through faith the elders obtained "a good report," including: 1. Abel (vs.4) 2. Enoch (vs.5). B. (vs.6) Through faith we can please God. 1. We must believe that He exists, but believing in God alone is not sufficient (James 2:19). 2. We must also believe that He rewards those who "diligently seek Him." III. THIRD, THROUGH FAITH WE CAN FOLLOW GOD'S INSTRUCTIONS, EVEN UNDER DIFFICULT CIRCUMSTANCES
A. (vs.7) Noah followed God's instructions to build the ark. B. Abraham followed God's instructions to: 1. leave his homeland and go to a place God would show him (vs.8-10) 2. offer Isaac as a sacrifice (vs.17-19). IV. FOURTH, THROUGH FAITH WE CAN LOOK TO THE FUTURE WITH OPTIMISM
A. (vs.20) Isaac looked to the future as he blessed his sons. B. (vs.21) Jacob looked to the future as he blessed Joseph's sons. C. (vs.22) Joseph looked to the future as he made burial plans. V. FIFTH, THROUGH FAITH WE CAN OVERCOME OBSTACLES
A. (vs.23-28) Moses overcame obstacles throughout his life. B. (vs.29-30) The Israelites overcame obstacles on several occasions. C. (vs.31) Rahab, a Gentile harlot, was spared when Jericho was destroyed. D. (vs.32-38) Many other Old Testament characters overcame difficult trials as they served God. E. (vs.39-40) A message of encouragement is given to Christians who have access to far greater blessings than the Old Testament characters listed. Conclusion:
1. Faith is "the first of 3 abiding subjects" listed in 1 Corinthians 13:13. 2. Let us strive to increase our faith -- through faith we can accomplish great things. 3. In closing, let us be reminded from Colossians 2:11-13 of the role that faith plays in our salvation.