1. To receive "a crown of life," God's people must be "faithful unto death" (Revelation 2:10). 2. The book of Hebrews is especially designed to help Christians accomplish this goal -- it was written for the purpose of encouraging the Lord's people to remain faithful to Him. a. This letter contains a number of admonitions that involve faith. 1) (6:11-12) We must follow the example of those who received God's promises through faith and patience. 2) (10:22) We are to "draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith." 3) (10:23) We are to "hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering." 4) (10:35-39) We are to "live by faith." b. The 11th chapter is a detailed study of faith that we will cover in a series of lessons. 3. Before we examine the faith that was demonstrated by a number of great men and women in the Old Testament, we are considering several fundamental principles addressed in Hebrews 11:1-3, 6.
I. (vs.1) FAITH IS DESCRIBED
A. In general, faith may be defined as "believing what God tells us in the Bible and following His instructions so we can receive His promises." B. Faith is described in Hebrews 11:1 as "the 'substance' [assurance] of things hoped for, the 'evidence' [conviction] of things not seen." 1. Our faith is to be based on God's Word (Romans 10:17). 2. With our faith based on God's Word, we can understand: a. things from the past that we have not seen (vs.3; Genesis 1) b. things in the future that we have not seen (vs.13-16; John 14:2-3).
II. (vs.6) FAITH IS ESSENTIAL
A. Faith is essential in that we cannot please God without it. 1. It is possible to possess various degrees of faith, including "no faith" (Mark 4:40), "little faith" (Matthew 6:30), "dead" faith (James 2:17), and "great faith" (Matthew 8:10; 15:28). 2. Faith that pleases God includes: a. believing that He is b. believing that He will reward those who diligently seek Him c. obeying His will (James 2:18-24). B. Faith is also essential in that it will enable a person to obtain "a good report" (vs.2).