Hebrews 11 is often called the ‘Faith Chapter’, and rightfully so.  It is filled with encouraging stories about men and women of faith.  Of course, all the people mentioned were in the Old Testament, but there are still many men and women of faith in the world today…people who are willing to live for the Lord and to die for the Lord.

Let’s begin by looking at Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  This is not really a definition of faith.  It is more of a declaration of its power and action.  Things that we hope for become material and we ‘see’ what cannot be seen.  It was by their exercise of faith that the elders had a good testimony.  When we exercise faith, we understand, or believe, that the heaven and earth were literally spoken into existence by God.  Here’s a little challenge for you.  Read Genesis, chapter 1, and count the number of times that you read, “And God said” as he created the world and made it habitable.

Beginning in verse 3, we have Faith’s Hall of Fame.  Many of the names listed are familiar to most Bible students.  We know most of their stories.  We see the names of Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Moses, among others.  We would expect their names to be here.  We consider them to be faithful and Godly men.  There are a few names that might surprise you to be here: Sara, Rahab the harlot, and Samson.  There are not normally names that we associate with great faith, but the Lord, who looks on the heart, knew their faith and included them here.

We also have many people here that are not named.  Not all those listed here had, what we might call, great stories of victory through faith.  Through faith, many were able to suffer terribly for the name of God.  Hebrews 11:36-37 says, “And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: 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.”  Here’s another challenge for you.  Read verses 32-38.  Every one of these ‘unnamed’ people and incidents can be found in the Old Testament.  See who you can find.  For example, verse 36 says in part, “Women received their dead raised to life again.”  Now, go to 2 Kings 4:8-37 and read the fascinating account of this faithful Shunammite woman who had her son raised from the dead by Elisha.

There is just so much in this chapter that we cannot go over all of it her.  But, I do want us to consider one important verse in this chapter.  Hebrews 11:6 says, “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.”  Verse 5 tells us about Enoch, a man who entered Heaven without going through death.  It was said of him in that verse that he, “pleased God.”  In contrast to that, verse 6 tells us that apart from faith “it is impossible to please him.”  To come to the Lord, it is required that we “believe that he is” and that “he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”  This takes us right back to verse 1 of our chapter.  To believe that God is, is the faith of things not seen.  To believe that God will, throughout eternity, be the Rewarder of those that diligently seek him, is the faith of something hoped for.

My friend, is your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ?  Have you trusted Him as your savior?  Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”  (184.1)