We are coming to a close in our Series titled ‘The Forefathers of Faith’.
In our series, we began by looking in depth:
God’s Definition of Faith: Heb.
11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
The Importance of Faith in the Eyes of God: Heb.
11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
And so as we consider Faith in God specifically, this chapter deals with the Faith of our Spiritual forefathers, AND WHAT IT MOVED THEM TO DO.
Messages in this Series:
v4 ‘By Faith… Abel Sacrificed’
v5 ‘By Faith… Enoch Walked with God’
v7 ‘By Faith… Noah Feared God’
v8-10;17-19 ‘By Faith… Abraham Obeyed, Became an Outcast & Offered’
v11-12; 20-22 ‘By Faith… Come Blessings & Bones’
v24-29 ‘By Faith… Moses Walked’
v30-32 ‘By Faith… History is Laid pt. 1 &2’
Where we looked at several acts of faith including all those named there in v32 including Gideon, Barak, Samson, David, etc.
Now we’re coming down tot he final messages which will be delivered today and then during tonight’s service titled ‘By Faith, Sacrifice is Made.
Over the last few weeks, we have looked at what could be described as ‘positive’ aspects of faith.
All the things that Faith can do.
Provide Salvation - like in the case of Rahab
Secure the Victory - like the COI at Jericho
Slay Giants - like David with Goliath
But today we’re going to notice a change.
Kind of the flip-side to that in that Faith demands Sacrifice.
Faith WILL INCLUDE SACRIFICE.
The most obvious example of what I’m speaking of is that of Abraham and Isaac.
In order for Abraham to display his faith, he had to be willing to sacrifice his son.
I continually place my faith in the LORD for my protection & provision… but I want to share two specific instances in my life for the sake of ministry, I placed what to me is great faith in the LORD.
Twice I quit my job, uprooted my family for something that was unknown.
When I went to pastor my first church, I had a high paying, cushy job as a territory manager for a national company.
I had great perks & benefits - and I quit in the middle of the recession to move back to NC and take a part-time pastorate position - that they hadn’t even offered me yet!
Then a little over 4 years ago I quit my job managing 2 companies, leaving my home to come here and be your pastor - not knowing what my compensation would be.
I didn’t share that to lift me up, I shared that because I wanted to stress the point that Demonstrations of Faith Demands Sacrifice.
In my case I wasn’t sacrificing my son, but I was sacrificing my security & peace of mind.
I sacrificed friendships & the familiar.
Faith in the ONE-TRUE GOD is the most wonderful thing a person can have - but it will cost you something.
There will be Sacrifice connected to it - and that is what we’ll be focusing on today.
That being said, the First thing that I want to show you today is that Faith will Show Regardless of Circumstance
I. Faith will Show Regardless of Circumstance (v35)
Notice the Change
There are two words that stand out when you begin to study this passage - particularly in this verse.
‘… and others...’
It goes from speaking about these great works of faith to OTHERS who are suffering for their faith!
Recognize the Commonality
All these that are mentioned in this passage of Scripture - whether it be those Slaying the Giants; Escaping the Sword; Subduing Kingdoms OR THE OTHERS that are tortured, scourged, sawed asunder; wandering destitute… they are all here BY FAITH!
Faith is the center of it all!
What this tells us is this: Faith can Overcome the World with Physical Victory - OR, it can Endure Persecutions BY the world with Spiritual Victory - but either way, Faith brings the Victory!
This is important to understand, as it goes back to something I mentioned a week or so ago - and that is Faith is not subject to CIRCUMSTANCES, faith is Settled upon a Sovereign God! Through the good and bad times, through the thick & thin - whether you’re facing a giant or the whipping post, Victory can be had!
Now we’ll examine specifics for a few moments.
Faith will Show Regardless of Circumstance, #2 - Faith will Stay the Course
Faith will Stay the Course (v35b)
Choosing to Endure Suffering in this Life
Notice the wording - ‘not accepting deliverance’ - in other words, there was a deliverance to be had, but they refused.
About 170 years after the Sacrifice of the LORD Jesus, there was a woman of Carthage Africa named Perpetua.
Perpetua was a young mother, 22 years of age from a wealthy family.
She was also a convert to Christianity in a time of great persecution.
She was arrested and given a hearing before the governor.
(From her diary) “One day while we were eating breakfast we were suddenly hurried off for a hearing.
We arrived at the forum, and straight away the story went about the neighborhood near the forum and a huge crowd gathered.
We walked up to the prisoner's dock.
All the others when questioned admitted their guilt.
Then, when it came my turn, my father appeared with my son, dragged me from the step, and said: 'Perform the sacrifice--have pity on your baby!' Hilarianus the governor, who had received his judicial powers as the successor of the late proconsul Minucius Timinianus, said to me: 'Have pity on your father's grey head; have pity on your infant son.
Offer the sacrifice for the welfare of the emperors.'
'I will not', I retorted.
3 'Are you a Christian?' said Hilarianus.
And I said: 'Yes, I am.'”
She then (and the others with her) were condemned to the beasts.
(In other words, they were to be placed into the arena to face various predatory animals)
If you were to continue reading her diary, it tells of a vision to which she describes as showing her that the beasts were not the enemy that she was facing, but rather the Devil Himself.
After some time, the day of her sacrifice arrives.
on March 8, 205, she and another young mother named Felicitas were run down by a bull.
As the story goes, we’re told: First the bull tossed Perpetua and she fell on her back.
Then sitting up she pulled down the tunic that was ripped along the side so that it covered her thighs, thinking more of her modesty than of her pain.
Next she asked for a pin to fasten her untidy hair: for it was not right that a martyr should die with her hair in disorder, lest she might seem to be mourning in her hour of triumph.
Ultimately, the animal didn’t kill them, they would give their lives by an executioners sword.
This is but one example of the countless souls who’s faith chose to endure Suffering in this life.
But they chose the Endure Suffering in this life because they considered the Next life Greater!
Considering the Next Life Greater
They knew that this life to which we value so greatly was NOTHING compared to the one to come!
They knew that this life, no matter how many years you get - whether 102 or 22 is but TEMPORARY, BUT THE ONE TO COME IS ETERNAL!
They understood - just like: Stephen, Paul, Peter, Andrew, James, Ridley & Lattimer, William Tyndale - this life - whether 102 or 22 years are worthless if it’s not sanctified unto the LORD who gave it to you!
Church, I know that walking by faith is never easy.
I know that.
But True Faith will stay the course.
It will continue when Hope fails.
It moves forward in the face of fear
It will soldier on when doubts arise.
Faith Will Stay the Course.
Faith is Willing to Stay the Course - that being said, Faith is Willing to Sacrifice
Faith is Willing to Sacrifice (v36-37)
Faith will put God before Family (Mat.
As in the biography of Perpetua, she had a father that loved her and (though I didn’t read it) he was so distraught by her conversion, he’d begged her time & again to recant - but she wouldn’t.
She had a husband and baby that she had to leave behind.