FAITH’S HALL OF FAME
“Faith at the Dawn of History”
Hebrews 11: 1-3 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. 3 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed (put in their proper place) by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made (come into being) of things which are visible.”
We’re reading today from what is called the Hall of Faith chapter of Hebrews.
The Apostle starts out by defining faith.
“Faith is the substance of things hoped for.”
SUBSTANCE means faith is the title deed to the promises of God.
And faith is also the EVIDENCE of things not seen.
Evidence is (the deep inner conviction) that His promises will be fulfilled.
You don’t see it yet, but your faith assures you its on the way!
Then verse 3 says the creation not only came into being by God’s spoken word, but everything God made was set in its proper place (framed) like a fine tuned machine!
Then next we come up on a roll call of faith’s champions where fifteen people are named.
And halfway thru the chapter we also learn of a large number of unknown, unnamed people he refers to as “still others.”
With every champion the Apostle names he tells us something about how their faith manifested.
He begins with three men that reach back to the very dawn of time—Abel, Enoch, and Noah.
We will see that:
• Abel APPROACHED God by faith
• Enoch WALKED with God by faith
• Noah OBEYED God by faith
So let’s take them one at a time:
I. By faith Abel APPROACHED God
Heb. 11:4 “It was by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God than Cain did…”
What made the difference between Cain’s gift and Abel’s?
Genesis 4:3-5 “When it was time for the harvest, Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the Lord. 4 Abel also brought a gift—the best portions of the firstborn lambs from his flock. The Lord accepted Abel and his gift, but not Cain’s.”
So, we see that God rejected Cain’s offering of vegetables, the fruit of the earth.
But He received and blessed Abel’s offering of a slain lamb where blood was shed and a life was sacrificed. ________________
Abel’s offering reveals he understood the gravity of sin, and that it was only atoned for by the shedding of sacrificial blood.
He had placed his faith in God’s revealed remedy for sin—shed blood.
His offering was an ancient echo of the future sacrifice of God’s only son, who bled and died for our sins!
Because of this Abel became faith’s first martyr.
He was killed by his brother for taking a stand for the one and only way to successfully approach God—through shed blood.
But the writer says, “He being dead still speaks.”
His testimony of salvation by faith in the shed blood of a sacrifice lamb still preaches today!
So we learn from Abel to come to God by faith in God’s way—the way of the shed blood of Christ!
Then next we have Enoch:
II. By faith Enoch WALKED with God
Heb. 11:5 “By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, “and was not found, because God had taken him”; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God.”
The Genesis account of Enoch says, “Enoch lived 365 years, 24 walking in close fellowship with God. Then one day he disappeared, because God took him.”—Gen. 5:23-24
So who was this man?
The Bible says Enoch was the 7th man in descent from Adam and was the great grandfather of Noah.
He not only walked with God, but was a prophetic man.
The Bible says that the first coming of Jesus was revealed to Adam in Genesis 3:15.
But the second coming of Christ was revealed to Enoch who prophesied, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his saints,”—Jude 1:14
Scripture says that Enoch was translated, or supernaturally taken from the earth, and totally avoided his own funeral!
One day Enoch got up and began his normal routine when suddenly—God took him.
He was and then he wasn’t.
The Bible says they looked for him and he could not be found.
God caught him up into heaven—and by that he is a type and picture of the church.
As Enoch disappeared and was caught up to God, Christ will catch up the saints who are alive at his second coming!
Now, the very next verse describes how Enoch’s faith began and grew:
11:6 “For he that comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those that diligently seek him.”
Enoch first believed in the existence of the true and living God, then he believed that that same God rewards those that diligently seek Him!
And by those two convictions Enoch—with no Bible, and living in the ungodly culture of Noah’s time—Enoch walked with God.
And so will it be for Jesus’s blood bought church!
One day all over the world the children of God thru faith in Christ will get up, start their normal routine, and:
52 “It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed.”—1 Cor. 15:51-52
So by faith we too will walk with God to the day Christ takes us home!
And then lastly there was Noah:
While Abel APPROACHED God by faith in God’s way, and Enoch WALKED with God by faith, we see that:
III. Noah OBEYED God by faith
11:7 “By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family.”
Now, the world Noah was born into was wicked and getting worse by the day.
The Bible reveals how God viewed Noah’s day:
“The Lord saw that humanity had become thoroughly evil on the earth and that every idea their minds thought up was always completely evil.”—Gen 6:5
We’re also told that, “the earth was filled with violence.”—vs.13
And so God chose to appear to Noah with a warning of coming judgment, and commanded him to begin building an ark—a huge multi-level ship.
And he was told to build it far inland where no water was.
So in the natural it seemed like a crazy command.
But driven by godly fear, Noah OBEYED God.
For 120 years he not only worked on the ark, but preached to his generation, warning them of coming judgment!
We all know the rest of the story.
In light of the truth of Noah’s story, Jesus warned the generation of his return:
Matt 24:37-39 ERV “When the Son of Man comes, it will be the same as what happened during Noah’s time. 38 In those days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving their children to be married right up to the day Noah entered the boat. 39 They knew nothing about what was happening until the flood came and destroyed them all. It will be the same when the Son of Man comes.”
Last days mankind will be flippant about divine warnings, will be engrossed in earthly life, and will be totally taken by surprise at the return of Christ.
Listen: Jesus is the only escape from what is coming!
He is the Ark of the New Covenant!
As Noah obeyed God and got into the ark before judgment fell, the call today is to place your faith in Christ, and in so doing get into the ark of safety!
So today we learn by:
Abel’s example to APPROACH God his way.
By Enoch’s example to WALK closely with God daily.
And by Noah’s example we learn to OBEY God by getting into the ark He has provided—the Lord Jesus.