Date: December 5, 2010
Bible Text: Hebrews 11:1-3 | Roger Voegtlin
Series: Transcribed Sermons
This morning I would like to preach on Faith. I want to make a statement for you to digest. Faith is the key to a victorious Christian life. Without it you have nothing. You’ve heard me talk about that I fought the call to preach, and didn’t want to be a preacher, was afraid, but you know what kicked me into gear? When I really realized what faith was. Faith. Turn to Hebrews 11. Hebrews 11 is the Bible Hall of Fame. We read the word faith 23 times in this chapter alone. There are 15 great Bible characters named here, and all had one thing in common—and that is faith. Now listen closely and believe what I’m going to say here. Every one of us must have a practical working faith that gets things from God or we fail, or we just have a cold works salvation. Look at verses 1 through 3. Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report, through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of god so that things which are seen were not made of the things which do appear. Now notice three words in verse 4—By faith Abel. Verse 5—By faith Enoch. 7—By faith Noah, 8—By faith Abraham, 11—by faith Sarai. Everything that’s been accomplished for God, whether it’s in the Old Testament, New Testament, or present times—everything that’s ever been accomplished for god is through faith.
We all, every person sitting here, need faith to see results. We need faith to have a productive life. We all need to get to the place in our Christian lives where we’ve got to see God work, we’ve got to see god perform. Okay, we’re having our family classes on Thursday nights, and if you recall, Thursday, I gave one verse after another, after another, all on discipline. All on how we need to discipline our children. Now, you can read that, close your Bible, and go on, and your children won’t be any different than the worlds’ You must have faith to say, ‘God said this.” Okay. God said it—whether it seems harsh compared to the teachings of today or not—God says spank your kids. Now, again, I don’t want to go all into it, but we have a big court case. I went to jail because I believed the Bible when it said spank your kids. I didn’t think I could raise my children without doing it the bible way. Now, that’s not anything special, that’s just faith. I just want to get it across. Faith is a very practical thing. We ought not want to live like we do. I don’t want a life without faith. I don’t want a marriage that doesn’t go according tot eh Bible, and that means without faith. I’ve got to see some things in my life that can only be explained by the supernatural. In other words, I want to see god work through my life, but it’s only done when I take the Bible, I apply it to my life, I do what He says to do, and by faith accept that He’s going to do something. I’ve got to see faith in my home. I’ve got to see faith moving in our church, or I can’t be satisfied. We all need to see faith at work. We all should not be satisfied with maneuvering to make ourselves look like a good Christian and not seeing faith in action. Look at Hebrews 11:6 where it says, “But without faith it’s impossible to please him.” Now, could it be clearer? It’s impossible to please god without faith. What does that mean? It’s impossible to live the life of the Bible without faith. It’s impossible to have the marriage you should have without faith. It’s impossible to give as the Bible teaches to give without faith. Let me stop there. It’s all a practical thing. The world hears that we, not just us, any Christians, believe in tithing and giving to god. The world will say, ‘How can you do that? You can’t do that.’ By faith, you see. And it’s not just a blind faith, it’s faith. “But without faith it’s impossible to please him, for he that cometh to him must believe that he is…” Now again, I always suggest that you take the passages from the messages, and take it home and have them for your devotions. You chew on this verse. Just chew on it. “But without faith it’s impossible to please him, for he that cometh to god must believe that he is…” It’s just not a formality or a tradition. You believe there’s a god, and you believe this is god’s word. “…and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” You believe that if you follow, god says you’re to dress modestly. Well, you don’t say, “I dress modestly because Pastor Voegtlin preaches it.” You dress modestly because the Bible says it and because you have faith and you know that’s the only way to really succeed as a Christian. You see Hebrews 11:6 doesn’t say it’s hard to please him, does it? It doesn’t say it’s difficult to please him, does it? It’s impossible. No, we ought to have a faith that gets things from God. I don’t mean that in a selfish way, but that we can see god work through our life. In Luke 18 Jesus asked, “When he comes shall he find faith on the earth?” Ask yourself, if Jesus came today, would he find a vibrant, well-exercised, strong faith in your life? Does he see faith working in our lives now? And oh, we need it, don’t we, in the year 2010? We’ve been at war in the Middle East for over nine years, and we’ve got a commander in chief that really doesn’t believe in what’s going on. I would not like to be in the military at this time. It’s a scary, scary thing. And think about Sodomites. Sodomites in America are protected by law, and Christians are shown as being weird. Okay, think about the day we live in. Abortionist are protected by law, and Christians, those who really founded the country, are thought of as being weird. Now, let it sink in. Maybe you’re here and you think abortion is okay. It’s okay to take a little defenseless baby and kill it. Think about the Holocaust. Everybody feels that was the most horrible time when Hitler and Germany killed millions of Jews, and you read about it. I’ve been to their death camps, and it’s horrifying to think about it. But I think what we’re doing in America in killing defenseless babies is worse. What kidn of day do we live in that we can, as a country, see this happen and our leadership defend it? Now, you might be saying, “Well, where is god?” He’s on the throne. He taught in His Word that this would happen. He blessed our country when we followed His word. I always have to say I’m not saying the majority were Christians, but our laws were according to His Word, and He blessed our country more mighty that any country in the history of the world. But now, He can’t bless us. Look at the public schools. They not only kicked god out of, you know today people say, ‘Oh, there should be separation of church and state.’ Don’t you understand what that means in our history? It means we’re not to have a church of England, that’s what it means. It means that we’re not supposed to have some denomination run the country, that’s all it means. But if you read our history and our forefathers, read Washington, read Jefferson, read Adams, read Lincoln, they didn’t feel that we shouldn’t have Christianity in our life. We were formed as a Christian country, and our schools, they learned to read in the Bible. The Bible was taught. But not only has god been kicked out of the public schools, but everything in the public schools is being done to make god look bad. And the same thing can be done with television. I mentioned that recently. Come on, show me a Christian family on television. Show me anything Christian on television. And if perchance you could find little tidbits some place, I’ll show you a thousand things that is anti-christian. Forty percent of the internet is pornography. So, what am I saying? God says that this would happen. Don’t sit there and say, “Where is god? What’s wrong with god?” We are reaping as a country what we have sown. But this morning, what about you? What about me? We need a real, vibrant, working faith if we are going to do something in this country, if we’re going to survive in this country. We need to see miracles. If something’s going to be done in America, we need to see miracles. Now, I want to ask, ‘Are you part of the miracle or part of the problem?’ Do you have the kind of faith that will assure victory? In Matthew 9:29, Jesus said, “According to your faith be it unto you.” I want to stop and emphasize every one of these verses. According to your faith. That’s the kind of Christina life you’re going to have. That’s the kind of marriage you’re going to have. That’s the kind of children you’re going to have. That’s the kind of church you’re going to have. Your life will be just as successful or you will fail according to the amount of faith that you have. You’ll never see anything greater than what your faith brings. You won’t see it. Your finances, your ministry, souls saved. It’s not, “Well, god will take care of things.” That’s weak Christians, and we have our share in our church. “Well, god will take care of it.” I don’t find that in the Bible. It’s according to your faith. Again, go back to the family. In my family class this last week, if you don’t spank your kids, you’re not going to have good kids. It’s according to your faith. If you don’t give and take care of your money the way god teaches, then you’re not going to have right finances, you see. You’ll go no further than your faith goes. You know, you’re going to witness to somebody, and the Devil says, ‘Well, he’ll never get saved,’ and you back off. Faith says, “I’ll trust god.” As far as money is concerned, you say, ‘Well, I can’t give.’ You’re going to sit around and feel sorry for yourself. As far as children are concerned, you allow them to sit around and play on the computer. Let me say something, I got rid of my television, I don’t know exactly, but at least 35 years ago, because it was time consuming. Back then, you know, they didn’t have the filth there was today. And I didn’t sit and watch it a lot, either. It’s just I couldn’t totally control it. If every couple of weeks I’d turn it on, and I’d see a good John Wayne movie, I would sit and watch the John Wayne movie, and it might be midnight and he’d come on again, and I’d watch the second John Wayne movie. That’s why I got rid of our television. Because it’s a waste of time. Well, now it’s much more than a waste of time, and the computer. I’m not saying that the computer is sin, but, I’ll tell you, my kids would not have an internet. And they surely wouldn’t be on Facebook. They’d have nothing to do with it. I think you sin against them if you allow them to have these things. They’re wicked. They’re not just a waste of time, they’re wicked. Now, Romans 1:17 says, “The just shall live by faith.” That means you don’t say, “Well, what are the repercussions going to be?” No, I’m going to do what god wants me to do by faith. Now most of you know the name Lester Roloff. I happen to know him well. He’s preached din our church many times. Now why do people know the name Lester Roloff? Only one thing. The word faith. He was willing to stand up against the powers that be and say, “Bless god, you do whatever you want to do to me, I’m not changing.” You see, that’s what made him. Romans 14:23 says, “Whatsoever is not of faith,” now get this, “Whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” If you’re not handling your money by faith, you’re in sin. If you’re not handling your marriage by faith, you’re in sin. If your ministry isn’t accomplished by faith, you’re in sin. You can’t get around it. The bible couldn’t be any more clear. We can’t live without faith. We cannot make it in life without it. If we don’t have faith, we will sin. If we don’t have faith, we’ll let our kids slide, and have the wrong friends, and do the wrong things, and we’ll just be one of those zombies. Boy, at the funeral, some of those old zombies came back to visit for the funeral, and it was so sad, as I walked the casket through there, and I saw these people who used to attend this church, whose lives are ruined because they didn’t have faith. You see, if we don’t have faith we won’t be a bold witness. If we don’t have faith, we’ll just miss church. You know, we’ll just, well, you know, I think we’ll miss this time. “God, I won’t do that again.” “Whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” Let it sink in. Don’t give excuses. Everything we do ought to be an outflow of our faith. Successful Christian living is living by faith. II Corinthians 5:7, “We walk by faith, not by sight.” I John 5:4, “This is the victory that overcometh the world even our faith.” How many times does god have to say it? When’s the last time you exercised your faith and you saw something happen that never would’ve happened without your faith? The Bible teaches that as a Christian you’ll succeed or fail according to your faith. According to your faith be it unto you. That means, you get up in the morning, and you read some Bible. People say, “How much should you read?” You just read enough until you get something out of it. Somebody asked me recently, “Where should I start?” It was a new Christian. “In Genesis?” No, no, no. Get in the New Testament. You’re not going to understand Genesis too much. It’s amazing how people just live in areas. Get in the New Testament. Get in John, get in Romans. Read the Bible. Read until you get something out of it, and then pray. Pray specifically, pray for wisdom, pray for faith, pray for your family. Pray for things that you need. And, just live your life. Be in church when the doors are opened, give what god lays upon your heart to give, witness to people that God lays upon your heart to witness. Let me ask you, are you satisfied? I’m not, but I always see those who see the least from god seem to be most satisfied. And I think it’s because they’re dead. Now we don’t know who wrote Hebrews, but faith is mentioned 23 times in this chapter. What we’re being taught is that we must have faith today just as the Christians did from the beginning of time. The chapter starts with Abel and Enoch. That’s before the flood, then he talks about Noah after the flood, then Abraham, Isaac, and Joseph in the, what is it Jeff? Anyway, that age. And then he gets into the age of the Israelites starting with Moses, and by the end he might be talking about the apostolic era. Now the point being, that they all, not only survived, but succeeded and were victorious, they conquered by faith. It doesn’t matter where or when you live, the only thing that brings victory is faith. In verse one, now faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. They knew what faith was. They lived by faith. Look at verse 13, “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off and were persuaded of them, and embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” If you really stand for god in the home, in your family, in your ministry, you’ll learn what faith is. You’ll learn it day by day. Now, don’t wait until a crisis comes. Don’t wait until your marriage is ruined. Don’t wait until there’s a crisis with your child or you lose your health, and you say, “What happened? What can I do?” The problem with many Christians, and I might even say most Christians today, is they have no more faith that the unsaved. Why don’t you cry out for it in your life now, so that when the lion comes you’ll have victory? You’ll be strong. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of thigns not seen.” Faith is not blind optimism. It’s not the power of positive thinking. Man, you look for the best, and you keep your mind under control and everything will be fine, that’s not faith. Faith is also not wishing, throw pennies into a wishing well or have a wish before you blow out candles on the cake. Some think that faith is having a strong will, and that might work in politics or on the job, but it’s not faith. Real faith must be in God. A faith that finds the promises in the Bible. Right there, that’s what I’m preaching. You find the promises, again, I’m repeating myself. About your marriage? It’s full of it. Okay. About raising kids? It’s full of it. About having wisdom? The Bible is full of it. About finances? The Bible’s full of it. You see, you find the promises in the Bible, and then you have a faith that walks with god in prayer, and then a faith that can find god’s will and believe that He’ll bring it to pass. Once you know what god’s will is, you’ve got to believe. Quit dreaming about what you want in life, stop wishing about what you want, your joy and peace, or a miracle, and get a vital faith built on something—built on the Word of God. That’s what it is. Not, “Well I think.” It’s so sad, I’ve seen so many of the children of our church down through the decades not be what they should be because their parents would defend. “I think.” Okay, you get the results. Faith is a substance. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen.” “Faith cometh from hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” That is substance, the Word of God. The things we need cannot be seen, they’re not in our hands, but faith can put those things we need in our hands. Those things we can’t see, children not right. You’re afraid, you pray for wisdom, you pray for knowledge, you pray for understanding. You listen to the preaching, you get into the Word, you see the needs, you get them right, understand? You don’t reason in a human way. Pray, “Open my eyes.” You spank consistently. You talk to them in wisdom, you make right decisions, and by faith He can give you the Bible kids that you want. The same thing can be said about marriage. But you must have faith, if you’re the man, you must have fiath to love your wife as the Bible says to. You’ve got to have faith to lead, men. That’s what men are afraid of today. They’re afraid of their wives. I’ve said this over and over again. Some of you he-men, if you could just see yourself from the outside. It’s like it’s written on your forehead. You follow your wife. “Yes, ma’am.” Have faith. Love. Lead, be strong. Again, you think you can’t give what god would have you to give. Look at god’s word on the subject, pray for His will, and just give. What I’ve found is that most people, younger Christians, they don’t have a budget. If you just make a budget, and there’ll be a big gaping hope of extra money you won’t know what to do with. And what I’ve said recently, you just stop drinking, you just stop smoking, you stop gambling, whatever it is that God doesn’t want you to do, and there’s a big gaping hole. Faith, it takes faith to ‘seek ye first the kingdom of god.’ And then trust Him to give the rest, not the other way around. That’s faith. It makes the unseen seen. It makes the intangible tangible. It makes the desire a reality. If your faith is not doing this, you have an inactive faith. You need to kick it. You need to get it started. When’s the last time you came to a huge wall, and it seemed to be impossible? Now what do most Christians do when they get there? They weasel around and try to make themselves look good. When’s the last time God got you over or through it? You see, that’s faith. Not weaseling, not looking good, but saying, “God, what do you want me to do in this matter?” Well, it seems impossible. It seems impossible to have a right marriage. Well, I’ll tell you what, women. What does god say your place is? Be in submission. “Well, you don’t know my husband.” I don’t have to. But most Christian women don’t have the faith to be in submission. They’re going to do it their way. Come on, that’s faith. Practical faith. Whatever it is. Verse 2, “…for by it the elders obtained a good report.” This is talking about those listed here in chapter 11. Abel, Noah, Abraham, the author is saying that at the end of their lives god could see by their decisions that they made the right decisions and gained the right results by living by faith. They saw miracles. You see, in most cases, you go down through their lives, we would’ve just changed course and never seen the miracle. I’m convinced most Christians never ever see miracles in their life because they don’t have the faith to see the miracles. Now, how about it? How is your marriage? “Man, you don’t know. My husband did this and that.” The Bible doesn’t give you directions for your husband, but he does give him directions for you. What are you doing? How are your children? How about souls? What about a crisis? And I’ll tell you what, I’d like to see more souls saved. I’d like to see people healed, I’d liked to see families turned to God. “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of god, so that the things which are seen are not made of the things which do appear.” Through faith we believe, through faith we believe this, through faith we believe Genesis chapter one. Now, I’m sure there’s plenty of public school people here that believe evolution is a fact. Evolution teaches pre-existent matter. Now what they teach, basically, and I had my share of it. Believe me, I’m a public school graduate, Iowa State University, geology. There was an ameba in some slime pit, and some way, through the forces of nature it became a tadpole. I don’t know how, but it became a tadpole. And after a while, it crawled out onto land. And then it became a monkey, and then it became a man, and he’s teaching at the University of Indiana. Now what am I saying? That takes a lot of faith. When I was a Christian, and I was just gaining my faith when I went to Iowa State University and I fought with those professors. And I’ll just tell you, believe me or not, they don’t have the answers. They do not have the answers. But, according to them it all started with pre-existing matter, but by faith I’ve got to believe verse three. “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.” We’ve got to believe this and we’ve got to believe Genesis. We believe that all things we see now were created by Almighty god. Years ago I had a debate set up with some of the professors I had in Bible college. We were going to debate the professors from Valparaiso University, supposedly a Christian university on evolution and creationism. And John remember, Wally remember what happened? They had it all set up, and they wouldn’t show up. They were afraid to show up because they didn’t have the answers. Now listen, you see that our faith here is based on a miracle. Real present day faith is when we don’t have any hope. Nothing we can hang onto, but through faith in god’s word, faith in prayer we see an answer. I’ve seen that more than once. We obtain what we need, that’s faith. And we can all have it. In this chapter, we see what faith did with these people. Look at verse four, “By faith Abel offered unto god a more excellent sacrifice.” Verse five, “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death.” Verse seven, “By faith Noah being warned of God of things not seen as yet moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house.” Eight, “By faith Abraham when he was called to go into a place which he should after receive an inheritance, obeyed and he went out not knowing whether he went.” Okay. You will be successful in your life, in your marriage, in your child rearing, in your ministry, in your finances according to your faith. That’s it.
Now I want to end this message by looking at Sarai. Sarai believed that god was able to change nature for her. Mary was an offspring of Sarai, and she did the same thing, but in verse 11 is says, “Through faith also Sarai herself received strength to conceive seed and was delivered of a child when she was past age because she judged him faithful who had promised.” Now what does that mean? She was 90, and Abraham was 99. That’s what it means. Now some of you 90-year-old women, 99-year-old husbands, how would you like to have a baby? Okay. You say, “It’s impossible.” But what they’re saying here is, by faith it happened. An angel came and announced that Abraham and Sarai would have a son. And Abraham said, “I have no seed.” And Sarai laughed; Isaac means laughter. And in verse 12 we read, “Therefore sprang there even of one and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky and the multitude and as the sand which is by the seashore innumberable.” He was the father of the Jews, and for thousands of years they’ve come and gone. God took a woman past child-bearing age and overshadowed her by his power and gave her a baby at 90 years old. Sarai believed that god was bigger than nature itself. She had faith, and Jesus asked, “Where is your faith?” You say, I don’t believe that stuff. Okay, then you’re probably on your way to Hell. But if you’re a Christian, believe. It doesn’t matter what’s happening around you. Again, it’s not some, “I believe.” If you believe, you put it into action. You do what the Bible says. Matthew 9:29 says, “According to your faith be it unto you.” Now have you tried putting it into action? Name it—what do you need? What do you need? Is your marriage what it ought to be? Stop making excuses, and stop living in the flesh. What do you need? Are you children all that they ought to be? I’m not saying that you go wild; you talk to people and so forth. But are they what they ought to be? Then put it into action. Don’t just say it can’t be. Finances? Put it into action. Faith cometh from hearing and hearing from the word of God. Get into the word of god, believe it, try it, see it happen.