Power of Faith
Believing God • Message 11
August 30, 2020
Introduction: (Hebrews 11:2,32a): Continuing our series called, Believing God.
Today’s message is entitled, The Power of Faith.
- Our theme verse for today’s message: Ephesians 3:20 (NLT)—Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.
- After describing numerous examples of faithful men and women from the Old Testament (Hebrews11:2), the writer of Hebrews provides a summary of some other people God used and what they accomplished by faith.
- Opening of today’s passage: Hebrews 11:32a (NLT)—How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith…
- After citing numerous illustrations of faith, the writer asserts that he has given sufficient examples, enough evidence, to prove the effect of faith in people who believe.
- Then he adds that he doesn’t have time to tell all of the stories of all of the people who displayed the power of faith through their exploits, but he lists a few more.
- APP: What is your story of faith? What have you accomplished by believing God?
The power of faith is evident through… (Hebrews 11:32-35a)
#1 - Diverse people. (Hebrews 11:32b; C/R: Judges 4-8,11-16; 1-2 Samuel; Mark 6:5-6)
- Hebrews 11:32b (NLT)—…It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets. [Leave up.]
- Hebrews chapter 11 features quite a collection of different people—men and women, young and old, different ethnicities, Jews, Gentiles and some who were neither because they lived before those designations developed.
- Some were officials such as judges, kings and prophets; others were common people.
- Some wealthy, others poor, some possessed special status and others no status at all.
- List includes farmers, shepherds, soldiers, priests, a prostitute and the son of a prostitute.
- The commonality in this list of very different people was faith! (Dependence on God.)
- We are all different by natural birth, with diverse backgrounds, disparate experiences, dissimilar tastes and preferences, divergent opinions and interests, as well as distinct talents and diverse skills.
- Before God, we are equal, the same, because we all bear His image, but also because we are all sinners in need of His grace.
- The first birth separates, the second birth (when we are born again) brings us together, provides unity, promotes harmony.
- We share a common faith, are indwelt by the same Holy Spirit, so we can live with a common desire to use our lives to glorify the same God, but in different, diverse, ways.
- Every one of us required the death of Jesus to return us to God; He sacrificed Himself willingly for each one of us individually, personally, which proves our value to God.
- APP: Do you know that what binds us as followers of Christ—our common faith—is much more significant than any of the things that separate us?
- This diverse list of people found in Hebrews chapter 11, including those mentioned at verse 32, have great differences, but share much in common as well.
- All of these people in Hebrews 11, including those listed at verse 32, heard God’s Word, were affected by it, believed it and acted upon it (some more readily than others).
- Verse 32 mentions three periods in Israel’s history: the judges (Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah), the kings (David), and the prophets (Samuel and all the prophets).
- God worked through judges, then kings, with prophets provided by God to guide, and sometimes confront, the kings and the people.
- We must never think that faith cannot operate because of times or circumstances—either cultural or personal—because true faith is not limited by historical situations or numerical limitations; it does not need governmental, or even popular, support.
- Gideon with 300 soldiers and Samson by himself, exercised faith and accomplished God’s will, because God working through only one, always constitutes the majority!
- The only thing that can limit God’s power is unbelief, a lack of faith. (Mark 6:5–6)
- APP: Are you living by faith, depending on God’s power or dwelling in self-doubt?
The power of faith is evident through…
#2 - Difficult problems. (Hebrews 11:33-35a; C/R: Joshua 21:45; 1 Kings 8:56; 2 Corinthians 10:4-5; 12:10)
- Hebrews 11:33a (NLT)—33a By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. …
- The people who overthrew kingdoms included several judges who defeated invading nations: Gideon defeated the Midianites (Judges 6-8), commander Barak joined with prophet and judge Deborah to overcome the Canaanites (Judges 4-5), Jephthah routed the Ammonites (Judges 11-12), and Samson killed thousands of Philistines (Judges 12-16).
- King David defeated numerous nations in the name of the Lord (2 Samuel 8).
- Prophets Samuel, Elijah and Elisha encouraged Israel to victory through prayers and spiritual guidance from God.
- The judges and kings and judges who obeyed God and followed His direction ruled with justice (Hebrews 11:33b; David in Israel: 2 Samuel 8:15; Joseph in Egypt and Daniel in Persia)
- I believe God still uses people in places of authority who will use their positions of power to acknowledge God, promote righteousness and execute justice for all people.
- APP: Will you use your position to honor God? Will you pray about running for office?
- As a result of their faith, these people, and many not mentioned, received what God had promised them, and by believing these promises, they accomplished God’s will.
- God gave each one an impossible task, a difficult problem to solve, but also a promise to believe; when they believed God’s promise, He enabled them to fulfill His assignment.
- God is still calling faithful people to hear His Word and respond by faith!
- In our culture, we are experiencing suppression of public expression of our faith, and encountering criticism, if not attack, of our biblical moral standards, so we must battle this opposition with God’s help, but also in God’s way-not by conflict, by conversation.
- [Screen] 2 Corinthians 10:4–5 (NLT)—4 We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. 5 We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.
- APP: Is there anyone you are leading to Christ, prayerfully, patiently, thoughtfully?
- Hebrews 11:33b (NLT)—…They shut the mouths of lions, may refer to David or Samson, who both killed lions (Judges 14:5; 1 Samuel 17:34), but more likely refers to Daniel (Daniel 6), who faced multiple lions while the other two fought a single one.
- Hebrews 11:34a (NLT)—[They] quenched the flames of fire, likely refers to Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who refused to worship an idol, were thrown into a furnace.
- Hebrews 11:34b (NLT)-[They] escaped death by the edge of the sword.
- This passage can refer to any of the soldiers of God who fought throughout the Old Testament, but also David specifically was rescued many times from enemy swords.
- APP: Are you under attack? Lions roaring at you? Flames leaping toward you? Swords being swung your way? God will help you as He has helped so many others!
- Hebrews 11:34c (NLT)—Their weakness was turned to strength.
- God did not substitute strength for the weakness; out of their weakness—and their recognition of their need for God—He made them strong. (2 Corinthians 12:10)
- Hebrews 11:34d (NLT)—They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight.
- They became strong in battle, not before; they received God’s power from the Spirit when needed! (Gideon: Judges 6:34; Jephthah: Judges 11:29; Samson: Judges 14:6,19;15:4)
- The core cause of their weakness—and ours—as well as our sin—is relying on ourselves, not trusting God, not relying on His promises, His provision, His power.
- APP: What problems do you face? What promises has God given you about them?
- Pray for direction, trust God and take a step, counting on God to grant the victory!
- Hebrews 11:35a (NLT)—35a Women received their loved ones back again from death.
- This refers to Elijah raising the widow’s son (1 Kings 17:17-24) and Elisha raising the son of the Shunammite woman (2 Kings 4:8-37).
- Death has no power over God! Through the sacrifice of His Son, God defeated death for all of us who will live—and die—by faith! (Romans 5:12.23; 6:23; John 3:16;
The power of faith is evident through…
#3 - Doubtful possibilities. (2 Corinthians 1:20; Ephesians 3:20; Philippians 3:10; 2 Peter 1:4)
- APP: What are you facing today that seems impossible? Family problems? Financial difficulties? Physical illness or emotional pain? The need to forgive?
- APP: Do you doubt you are capable of accomplishing the task God has called you to?
- Good! Anything you can achieve on your own, with your resources, intellect, or resourcefulness, does not require God’s intervention, so faith is unnecessary.
- Whatever you have the strength to complete doesn’t require faith.
- Do you think a teenaged shepherd, whose own brother and king dismissed, even ridiculed, defeated a giant with a sling and a stone? No, he did it by the power of God!
- God has not changed; He is still using unlikely, ordinary, diverse people to perform extraordinary feats, to solve difficult problems, by faith—believing you can accomplish doubtful possibilities by trusting Him and depending on His power!
- APP: The same Spirit that empowered these people in Hebrews 11 is available to us today!
- We received the Spirit when we were born again! (Acts 1:8; Philippians 3:10;
- We have the power to accomplish anything, everything, God has called us to achieve!
- [Screen] Ephesians 3:20 (NLT)—Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.