Scripture: Hebrews 11-13
Aim: CATL faith is essential in God’s family
Introduction: Last week we learned about covenants, the old and new, our need for a priest and how Christ serves as our permanent high priest interceding on our behalf with the Father. We learned that a covenant is made between two or more people, like God and mankind. This week we learn about faith. What is really interesting is that faith is a form of covenant. Faith is the foundation of our relationship with God and the demonstration of His relationship with us.
1st division: Hebrews 11: 1-16 Biblical characters model faith.
Principle: Faithful followers stand as pillars to build on
Illustration: Every home land has culture, norms, traditions, laws and practices. (Talk briefly about some different cultures, driving on different sides of the road, etc.)
Application: Have you justified something based on comparison to your neighbors? If so, is that comparison to your current neighbors or the ones who will be down the block from you in heaven, like Abel, Enoch, Noah and Abraham? Are you conforming to earthly culture or do you look forward to your heavenly home?
2nd division: Hebrews 11:17-12:29 Faith is like a muscle – it needs work to remain strong
Principle: God provides work and challenge to strengthen our faith
Illustration: I have an issue with my elbow. The range of motion is restricted and I’m going to a physical therapist to help me. She is having me do some challenging and painful exercises, stretching and building back the motion in my joint. I don’t enjoy it, but I understand it is necessary. God works the same way in our lives. If we weren’t tested, if we didn’t face resistance we would grow weak.
Application: Are you actively participating in God’s exercise and training plan for you? Do you seek out God’s spiritual therapy or do you try to avoid it? What are you doing that is outside of your comfort zone?
3rd division: Hebrews 13 True faith is demonstrated not just discussed
Principle: Faith is the character of a christian
Illustration: There was a man in a small town who was “the bravest man in town”. He wore a t-shirt with that slogan on it. He had a sign in his yard. It was on his business cards. He rode on the back of a convertible in the annual parade. Then one day some robbers came to town and the man was found hiding behind a group of children. Faith is the same way – the true nature is evident in our actions in difficult times, not in how much we talk about it in easy times.
Application: Are you a hypocrite or poser? Do you live one life at church and a different life at school or work? Do you wear your faith on your sleeve, chest, around your neck, on the back of your car or is it something people clearly see in times of trouble and need?
Conclusion: Chapter 13 sums it all up – what it means to be part of God’s family: It starts with love, ends with grace and at the center of it all is the sacrifice Christ made for me so I can be his brother.