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  1. Lesson One of the Book of Daniel, Introduction to the Book of Daniel

God Pleasing Faith, Lesson 2, Hebrews 11:1-3

 

We continue today with the second of a series of lessons mainly centered on the 11th chapter of the Apostle Paul's Epistle to the Hebrews.

 

God has given note in this chapter to men and women whom we call Heroes of Faith, men and women like Abel, Enoch, Noah,
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sara, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Gedeon, Barak, Samson, Jephthae, David, Samuel, and the prophets.

 

Who as Hebrews 11:33-40 tell us: through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions. 34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. 35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: 36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: 37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; 38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. 39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: 40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

 

We know by revelation, by becoming a new creation in Christ Jesus that all the things accomplished by these Bible Heroes was accomplished because they believed God and lived by faith. 

 

And faith gave them access into the grace of God needed to accomplish such acts and deeds for God.

 

Jesus said that faith as small as a grain of mustard seed will bring mountains to move. 

 

In the lives of these heroes of faith we certainly see the power of faith for faith moves the hand of God.

 

For faith moves one into the realm of true reality, true sight, as it allows you to extend yourself past your natural senses for it brings you to spiritual reality and into the realm of God.

 

Faith gives substance to what is promised for it provides evidence of what is believed about unseen and hoped for realities. 

 

Faith makes the future more real than the present for it opens up the spiritual eye to the unseen.  

 

If all you do in this life is depend upon your natural senses you will never see the world beyond, you will never see the glory of the Lord that is plain and clear to those with eyes of faith.

 

A.W. Pink in his (An Exposition of Hebrews) uses the analogy of two men standing on the deck of a ship, looking in the same direction. One sees nothing, but the other man sees a distant steamer. The difference is, the first man is looking with his unaided eye, whereas the second man is looking through a telescope. Faith is the telescope that brings the future promises of God into present focus. Faith enables us to see the unseen world that the natural man cannot see.

 

In this light think about the three men of faith in Danielís time, three men not mentioned in Hebrews 11 but certainly heroes of the faith.

 

What about Hananiah, which means beloved of the Lord, and Mishael which means Who is as GOD, and Azariah which means The Lord is my help?

 

These are their Jewish names which the prince of the eunuchs thought not proper in Babylon so they ended up being called Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, names which refer to Babylonian gods.

Threatened by the king to bow or burn in the fiery furnace they choose the burning for they, through the eyes of faith, saw beyond the fire. 

They knew not to be afraid of them that kill the body and after that have no more that they can do.

They knew to whom they had to answer.

Through eyes of faith they saw the home of God, a home which the fire would simply be a conduit or channel used to bring them there.

 

They had the kind of faith which gave them assurance so strong that they in concert told the king in:

 

Daniel 3:16,17, ÖÖO Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. 17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.

 

For they knew by faith that they belonged to God and obedience to Him would please Him and that God was a rewarder of them that diligently sought him.

 

So why would a man or woman of faith think on these things? 

 

If they had been burned they would have died in faith and God would reward them abundantly throughout eternity in heaven.

 

What was there to be careful about? 

 

What was there to consider? 

 

God had said to them clearly Thou shalt have no other gods before me.  

 

In their minds the case was closed. 

 

There were no options or other possibilities to consider. 

 

Because they believed God they immediately said we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.

 

Truly they were men of great faith and it was revealed in their willingness to submit to the fire for faith gave them sight to see beyond the fire.

 

Their faith proved the reality of the unseen God as greater than the reality of the flames that were put in place by Nebuchadnezzar.

 

Flames meant to destroy them but the reality of the flames were such as to bring them to the throne of God or to show the king the power of their God.

 

Jan Hus, the first church reformer, who died for Christ, was cast into prison and condemned to death because he made known many of the corrupt practices of the Roman Catholic Church.

 

Jan Hus was a believer in Godís word, and a man of faith who was burned at the stake and of course you would think he screamed in pain and agony as the flames ate his body up. 

 

But not so, for the reports tell of a singing Hus glorying in His God. 

 

What could possibly give a man power to do such a thing?

 

Well it was that his faith made real in that fire the future promises of God. 

 

Again we see a manís faith proving the reality of the unseen God as greater than the reality of the flames that burned him to death.

 

So often faith is exercised when sight ceases. 

 

You may say to the Lord, I canít find my way out of this dilemma. 

 

Faith comes to the fore. Faith opens up the eyes to see!

 

The greater the difficulty the easier for faith. 

 

As long as there is some natural solution, faith so many times is hidden from view and natural solutions prevail. 

 

But God desires to be pleased at all times and therefore faith is to be exercised at all times. 

 

Men and Women of faith do not utter the childish phrase, ďI can do it myselfĒ for doing it yourself will only reach so far but God desires that we know at the end of our reach He is there to reach further.

 

We are to pray without ceasing and we are to exercise faith without ceasing.

 

Again reading Hebrews 11:1,2, Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report.

 

When we are told the elders obtained a good report this is  saying: for by faith the men of old received divine approval.

 

So faith is the means that God has established for receiving His approval.

 

Just think about this chapter as a divine report card with all Aís.

 

These men and women of faith knew from whom they would get this report card for it was not a report from man that they treasured but a report from God that made a difference in their lives.

 

Jesus said, But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

 

The priority of life for people of faith is that Godís will is supreme is their lives. 

 

Moses refused to be called the son of Pharaohís daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the children of God.

 

He considered the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasure of Egypt for he looked beyond the grandeur of Egypt and saw the grandeur of Heaven with his eyes of faith. 

 

The Bible said he had respect unto the recompense of the reward.

 

He walked away from the reward he saw with his senses to the reward he saw with his eyes of faith and thereby gained a good report.

 

We see this occur over and over in this world when a man or woman of means turns to Christ and leaves the wealth of this world. 

 

They become subject to ridicule from those who only can see that which they can sense for they are poor and blind and deaf to Godís world of eternal treasure.

 

They see the glitter of this worldís gold but they are blind to the golden streets of heaven.

 

So we learn that faith is the channel through which Godís blessings flow. 

 

Salvation flows through the channel of faith.

 

See Ephesians 2:8, for it says: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

 

We are to believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ because God commands us to believe and with Godís commands comes the power to comply.

 

So God gives the channel of faith to access this grace.

 

And upon accessing this grace God is pleased by continuing faith for we are now created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. 

 

And walking in them will be done in Godís channel of faith.

 

Now as we continue, the Apostle Paul begins his treatise with a foundational truth for the discussion of faith by writing in: 

 

Hebrews 11:3, 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.

 

Here he uses the word couplet through faith and continues this theme in later verses with the use of the word couplet by faith.

 

His first use of course is the absolute that faith in God as the Creator of all things is the foundation upon which all else depends in knowing God.

 

Through faith and faith alone we believe the report given in the book of Genesis that: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

 

This truth is foundational to having an understanding of yourself, an understanding of other people, an understanding of history as His story, and ultimately coming to an understanding of God, limited though that may be.

 

God begins His Holy Book with the account of creation for creation demands a yielding of the created to their creator. 

 

Think about the things you have brought into being. 

 

All of us have made things, some in the shop, some in the kitchen, some at the sewing machine and some at work.

 

What about the children you have brought into the world by your actions?

 

Donít you expect everything you have made or brought into the world to yield to you as its maker? 

 

If this is true with created beings how much more is it true with the Creator of all things?

 

Because God is the Creator of all things He is the Sovereign of the universe and demands his creation to perform or conduct itself in the orderliness and obedience of every principle upon which it is based.

 

God tells us that the heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament His handiwork. 

 

He has made it so easy to see how everything he has made conducts itself in accordance with His plan.  

 

It is extremely easy to see in the heavens and in the firmament that there is purpose and design in everything. 

 

Anyone who denies this exceedingly obvious and observable truth is simply saying I donít want this Creator in my life. 

 

He or she simply promotes their blindness to the ultimate.

 

So God gives us a view of the universe to point us to faith in Him.

 

Through faith we are given to understand the origin of all things and how all things fit together.

 

Modern science tries to find this out by the senses but Godís word tells us that only by faith can this understanding come.

 

God tells those who believe that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.

 

God tells us that things which are seen were made from words spoken by God. 

 

That which is material, that which is matter, that which scientistís study to determine origins, came from words, not any words but words spoken by the Sovereign of all and without faith scientists will never come to the right conclusion.

 

As Psalm 33:6,9, says: By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouthÖÖFor he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.

 

Hebrews 11:3, 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.

 

So faith gives us understanding of how the heavens and the host of them that we see with the physical eye, the material universe and how it functions in time came into being. 

 

All matter came into being by the breath of Godís mouth, for he spake and it was done, he commanded and it stood fast. 

 

And it will stand fast until his word commands otherwise for matter is not eternal.

 

Peter spoke of this in I Peter 3:10, But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

 

And John told us of the new creation again brought into being by the Word of God.

 

We read of this in Revelation 21:1, And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

 

Matter is simply a tool of God, a tool based upon time, but God who does not consist of matter, is Spirit and as Spirit is eternal.