Faith Is (Names of God Series)


Hebrews 11:1-3, 6 Now faith is the substance1 of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders2 obtained a good report. 3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. … 6 But without faith it is impossible to please {God}: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

What is that which we call “Faith”? A lot of people define “faith” a lot of different ways. But how does GOD define “faith”? After all, this is what matters most. Let’s break down our focal text:

The word translated “substance” is the Greek ὑπόστασις hypóstasis, (pronounced hoop-os’-tas-is) which means “the firm foundation, the confidence, a substantial quality of a thing”. I hear people speak of “blind faith”, but “blind faith” is not the faith of the Christian. Our faith has substance.

Faith Is That Which Connects Us To The Real God

Even when things do not go our way, our faith is in the Faithful God Who loves us and has promised to personally stay with us, as in:

Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for {God} hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

The Prophet Job, though he lost his riches, his family (all except his bitter wife), his business and his body, nevertheless said:

Job 19:25-27 For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: 26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: 27 Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.

faith is the substance1 of things hoped for,
the evidence of things not seen

Faith focuses not on the things that are visible, but on the reality of the invisible God Who saved us. He is not a figment of our imagination, a pretend “Friend”, or a fairytale. Faith is that which every Christian has experienced. I use myself for an example.

As I look back over my life I can honestly say, though I have never actually seen the God of Scripture with my eyes, I have experienced His very real presence. He was with me on the day of my salvation. The Pastor, whom I only remember as “Brother Edwards”, issued a call to salvation. As he did, I felt the touch of God on my body three distinct and different times. When I went forward to pray the Church moved and, in love, went forward and prayed with me. When I rose from that altar that day I can truly say that I died, but God gave me new life. My old life was gone, a bitter memory. My new life in Christ began. I can see numerous times in my life where God has answered my prayers. These were not coincidences, or fate, but distinct actions of a Creator God.

Faith is more than just a feeling. Yes, faith brings good feelings, but faith is much more than that. Faith does business with the true Biblical God! God is! God is!

Hebrews 11:2 For by {faith} the elders2 obtained a good report3.

The word translated “elders” is the Greek πρεσβύτερος presbýteros, (pronounced pres-boo’-ter-os), which is a reference to the Old Testament Saints. The Old Testament Saints “by faith” “Obtained a good report”. The last four words of the above text is the Greek μαρτυρέω martyréō, (pronounced mar-too-reh’-o), from which we get our word “martyred”. A “martyr” is a person who dies contending for what they believe is true. Many Christians were martyred since Christ came, rose from the grave, and ascended into Heaven. The Child of God has always been a target for martyrdom.

The world despises the light that is Christ. The darkness has always hated believers in God. Jesus told the Pharisees and even His own step-brothers …

John 7:6-7 Then Jesus said unto them, My time is not yet come: but your time is alway ready. 7 The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.

The unsaved world hates Jesus. Why? Because He is the Light and sin is the darkness. The world wants to retain its sin, to wallow in its sin. Jesus tells His Church:

John 15:18-21 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. 20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.

The world despises the Blood bought sinner turned follower of Christ. The world does not understand those who live to please God. The elders – the Old Testament Saint, experienced rejection, persecution, and even martyrdom. Yet though the saints of God have always been sought out for destruction, those who love Jesus continue to follow Him regardless as to what others may do. Our context gives us some examples of those who were saved by faith.

To illustrate this thing we call “faith”, the Bible starts off with two presbuteros or elders who were subjected to martyréō – they died for and in their faith.

Abel Died FOR His Faith In God

Hebrews 11:4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.

Abel stands as the first martyr for faith in the Bible. “Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice”. What is interesting about Abel is that there is not one word in Scripture recorded from Abel. His actions proved his faith. Abel was saved by faith in God, trusting and loving the Lord. Abel loved the Lord enough to DO what the Lord told him to do. Let’s go back and review this in the Old Testament.

When Adam and Eve fell from perfection in the Garden of Eden, before God sent them out of the Garden the Bible says:

Genesis 3:21-23 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God (YaHWeh ‘Elohiym) make coats of skins, and clothed them. 22 And the Lord God (YaHWeh ‘Elohiym4) said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: 23 Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.

Though Adam and Eve disobeyed God – Yahweh (the Eternal I AM) Elohiym (the name of the Godhead) “made coats of skins, and clothed them. This was an act of Grace. Adam and Eve deserved death for what they did. God could have wiped them out at this very moment. But instead YaHWeH Elohiym sacrificed an animal, and took it’s skin to be a covering for our fallen foreparents.

This is a picture of the Cross of Christ. Jesus Christ, God’s Only Begotten Son, came from Heaven to die for our sins. He was, is, and will always be “The Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29, 36). He had to die to cover our sins. The animal that God used to cover Adam and Eve’s sin had to die to do so. With that action in the Garden of Eden God established that without blood there is no remission or corrective action over sin. Adam taught this truth to his children. How do I know? Because this is what led to Abel’s murder. The Bible tells us that:

Genesis 4:3-5 3 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord (YaHWeH). 4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord (YaHWeH) had respect unto Abel and to his offering: 5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.

Cain was the elder brother to Abel. I am sure that Adam taught Cain to bring animal sacrifices to Yahweh, the Great “I Am”.

Cain, like so many today who profess to be Christian, decided he would do it “my way”.

Cain brought fruit of the ground to the eternal God. I am sure that this was very good fruit. Yet God rejected this. Why? Again, because of Christ. God wanted to show the Old Testament believers that “apart from shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin”. Jesus Christ must one day come. The world must understand that we ourselves cannot make ourselves righteous before God. Sin must have death. Sin must have the shed blood of the Redeemer.

Cain brought the wrong offering. Abel brought “of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof”. He sacrificed a lamb without spot or blemish. Yahweh loved this offering, but did not receive Cain’s offering.

This enraged Cain. God told Cain:

Genesis 4:6-7 … the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? 7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

God – the Eternal I AM – did not turn His back on Cain. He loved Cain enough to tell him the truth. “If you do well, Cain, I’ll accept your offering. Go and get me a animal without spot or blemish. Quit trying to do it your way. I’m God, you’re not!”

Oh how I love that our God is the God of second chances, and third chances, and fourth chances, and … you get the point. Our God did not slam Cain. He just told Cain “do what you have been taught. It dishonors Me when you do not listen. Get your eyes off of your pride, and do what I say. If you don’t, your sin will snowball into something far worse.”

Cain left God’s Presence to kill his brother Abel. When the Great I AM asked Cain “Where is your brother Abel”, Cain deflected God by saying “Am I my brother’s keeper?” God told Cain:

Genesis 4:10-11 {YaHWeH}said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground. 11 And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand;

Though Abel never had a recorded word in Scripture, God said “his blood is crying out to Me”. Abel believed in God. He had faith in God, and focus on the Eternal I AM though it put him at odds with his older brother. Abel died for his faith. He was martyred for his faith.

Hebrews 11:4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which HE OBTAINED WITNESS (μαρτυρέω martyreō) that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.

Abel was the first martyr in human history. He lived for God despite what his brother said.

The proof of a persons salvation is the witness of their works. If a person says “I love God” but then refuses to do what God has decreed, that person has no witness of salvation. The Apostle speaks of people like this who infiltrate the Church,

Titus 1:15-16 Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. 16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

Beloved, your works do not save you, but once you are saved you will work for God.
You will outwardly show the love
you have for Him inwardly.

Abel’s witness was that he was willing to have his blood shed in order to do what the Lord Who loved him told him to do. The Bible says of Abel’s work:

Hebrews 11:4 … by {his martyrdom} he being dead yet speaketh.

Abel’s shed blood stands as an eternal Witness as to what genuine faith is. Genuine faith is willing to die for God. Fake faith is willing to look good, to dress up, to do many things. But only the saved are willing to be martyred for their faith. Our Lord Jesus called Abel,

Righteous Abel”

Why? Because his actions proved how much he loved and trusted God.

Enoch Died To The World But Lived To God

Hebrews 11:5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.

Unlike Abel, Enoch had a family. The Bible says:

Genesis 5:18, 21-22 And Jared lived an hundred sixty and two years, and he begat Enoch: … 21 And Enoch5 lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: 22 And Enoch walked with God (אֱלֹהִים

‘elohiym) after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters:

Jared had a child he named “Enoch”, which is the Hebrew חֲנוֹךְ Chănôwk, (pronounced khan-oke’), which means “dedicated”. Enoch was a dedicated person. The first 65 years of his life Enoch had children, both sons and daughters. But at the age of 65 the Bible says that he began walking with God. I don’t know if this means he was saved at the age of 65, or that he just finally grew to the point in his Christian walk to where God became the most important Person in his life.

Enoch walked with God (אֱלֹהִים ‘elohiym)
after he begat Methuselah three hundred years

Methuselah was Enoch’s oldest child, and the last child he had before he dedicated his life to the Lord. Both Enoch as well as his father Jared were in the genealogy of our Lord Jesus Christ (Luke 3:37). What led Enoch to walk away from his family and focus entirely on God (Elohiym)?

One way that Enoch differs from Abel is that Enoch did have a prophecy recorded in Scripture. It is not recorded in Genesis, but toward the end of our Bibles in the Book of Jude. We read:

Jude 14-15 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, 15 To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.

Enoch foresaw the Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, and His future judgment on the earth. Communing with Elohiym (the Triune God) Enoch dedicated his life to following the Lord Who loved him. Enoch walked with God. Someone told me of a little girl who, on hearing this Bible truth, went and told her friends:

Enoch walked with God for a long time. He walked and walked until he was so far from home the Lord told him, ‘Why don’t you just come on home with Me?’ And Enoch did.”

Enoch walked a long time with God, focused on pleasing the Lord. We are told:

Genesis 5:23-24 23 And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: 24 And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.

God took Enoch off of this earth to be with Him. Our focal text says:

Hebrews 11:5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.

Enoch lived his life to please God. We know little about Enoch other than these few scriptures. His whole life is summed up in “Enoch pleased God”. He did not live for himself, nor for the pleasure of those around him, but for Elohiym, the Eternal God. Our final verse tells us:

Hebrews 11:5-6 (Enoch) pleased God 6 But without faith it is impossible to please {God}: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

If you and I are going to please God like Enoch pleased God, then our faith needs to have two overriding characteristics.

We must believe that God IS.

Our God is YaHWeH, the Eternal “I Am”. He is always in the present tense. God is always with us. Always. But the second characteristic our faith must have is that:

God rewards those who “diligently seek” Him.

Enoch diligently sought after Elohiym, the Triune God, for three hundred years. He foresaw the Coming of our Lord Jesus. He was saved by grace, as we are all saved by grace. Enoch loved God more than he loved himself, or even his family. And God loved him back. Our God is like that.

May God touch your hearts with His Word and His Spirit. In Christ’s name I pray. Amen!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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