"THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS"
Faith That Pleases God (Heb 11:1-7)
1. A key concern in this epistle is that Christians remain strong in
a. There is the danger of developing "a heart of unbelief" – He 3:12
b. It was the lack of faith that destroyed Israel in the wilderness
– He 3:16-19
2. In chapter ten, we saw…
a. An exhortation to "draw near with a true heart in full assurance
of faith" – He 10:22
b. An admonition to have that faith which endures to the end –
He 10:35-39; cf. He 6:11-12
3. But one might ask…
a. What is this "faith" which leads "to the saving of the soul"?
b. How does this faith manifest itself in the lives of those who
4. In chapter eleven, we find the answer to such questions…
a. With a definition of faith – He 11:1
b. With a mention of how necessary faith is to please God – He 11:6
c. With examples of Old Testament saints who demonstrated saving
faith – He 11:3-40
[In this lesson, we shall focus our attention on the first seven verses
as we examine the "Faith That Pleases God". In verses 1-3, we see…]
I. FAITH EXPLAINED (He 11:1-3)
A. FAITH IS "CONFIDENCE" AND "CONVICTION"…
1. "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for…" (NKJV)
a. The Greek word translated "substance" is hupostasis
b. Literally, it means "to stand under", i.e., to be a
c. As translated in He 3:14, it means "confidence";
i.e., firm trust, assurance
d. Other translations illustrate that the main idea is
1) "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for…" (NIV)
2) "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for…"
2. "…the evidence of things not seen." (NKJV)
a. The Greek word translated "evidence" is elegchos
b. It means "conviction"
c. How other versions translate this phrase…
1) "certain of what we do not see." (NIV)
2) "the conviction of things not seen." (NRSV, NASB)
B. PERTAINING TO THINGS "HOPED FOR" AND "NOT SEEN"…
1. Faith is confidence about things hoped for, such as…
a. The coming of our Lord – Ti 2:13
b. The resurrection of the dead – Ac 24:15
— It was this kind of confidence possessed by the OT saints
that pleased God – He 11:2
2. Faith is conviction about things we have not seen, such as…
a. The existence of God: "whom no man has seen or can see,"
– 1 Ti 6:16
b. How the world began: "the worlds were framed by the word of
God" – He 11:3
— Yet faith is that strong conviction that such matters are
[As expressed in verse 2, the "elders obtained a good testimony"
because of their faith. The rest of the chapter is filled with
illustrations of the faith possessed by these "elders". The first three
mentioned were "antediluvians" (living before the flood), and in them
A. THE TESTIMONY OF ABEL ("FAITH WORSHIPPING")…
1. By faith he "offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than
Cain" – He 11:4
a. The reference is to Gen 4:3-5
1) Cain’s offering was "of the fruit of the ground"
2) Abel’s offering was "of the firstborn of his flock and
of their fat."
3) It is said the Lord "respected" Abel’s offering, but not
b. Why did God respect Abel’s offering, but not Cain’s?
1) It may have been that God had specified an animal
2) It may be Cain offered "left-overs", while Abel offered
his best (the firstborn)
3) Cain’s attitude may have been wrong; he certainly showed
himself prone to display envy and hatred, capable of
4) Perhaps most likely, Abel offered his with "faith" while
Cain did not
2. Through faith Abel "obtained witness that he was righteous"
– He 11:4
a. God certainly testified of his righteousness in showing
respect to his offering
b. Jesus also bore witness to the righteousness of Abel – Mt 23:35
c. The apostle John also – 1 Jn 3:12
3. Through his faith, "he being dead still speaks" – He 11:4
a. His example of faith was written for our learning – Ro 15:4
b. His example of faith continues to warn us in regards to
B. THE TESTIMONY OF ENOCH ("FAITH WALKING")…
1. By his faith, Enoch "was translated so that he did not see
death" – He 11:5
a. The historical reference alluded to is Gen 5:21-24
b. Like Elijah, he did not experience death – cf. 2 Ki 2:1-11
2. His faith was such that "he pleased God" – He 11:5
a. What God found pleasing is that he "walked with God" – Gen 5:21
b. His example of faith illustrates the value of walking with
God throughout life
C. THE TESTIMONY OF NOAH ("FAITH WORKING")…
1. By faith Noah. "moved with godly fear" – He 11:7
a. The scriptural background is Gen 6:1-22
b. God warned him about "things not seen" (cf. He 11:1);
i.e., the coming flood
c. His confidence (faith) in what God said would happen
prompted him to act with reverence toward God
2. By faith Noah "prepared an ark for the saving of his
household" – He 11:7
a. His faith moved him to do "according to all that God
commanded him" – Gen 6:22; Gen 7:5
b. Through such working faith, Noah…
1) "condemned the world"
a) His own example of faithfulness stood in stark
contrast to others
b) His obedience magnified the lack of obedience in
— Just as Nineveh will condemn those who did not listen
to Jesus – Mt 12:41
2) "became heir of the righteousness which is according to
a) He received the standing of being right in God’s eyes
b) It was his faith that so pleased God!
3) Demonstrated that faith and works are not necessarily
contrary to one another – cf. Ga 5:6; Ja 2:14-26
[From the examples of these "antediluvian" saints we learn that the
faith is a strong conviction that "worships" God properly, "walks" with
Him in life, and "works" as He directs.
That such faith is necessary to please God is evident as we go back to
verse six and notice…]
III. FAITH EMPHASIZED (v 6)
A. WITHOUT FAITH IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PLEASE GOD…
1. We have seen how Abel, Enoch, and Noah "obtained a good
testimony" by their faith
2. Of Enoch in particular it is said "he pleased God" – He 11:5
3. Whether we are "worshipping", "walking", or "working", faith
must be the motivating factor behind it all
— Without faith, then, there is nothing we can do that will
B. THE FAITH WHICH PLEASES GOD…
1. Includes conviction "that believes that God is"
a. We must believe there is a God, and He is the God of the
b. Though we do not see Him, we have conviction in "things not
seen" – He 11:1b
2. Includes confidence "that He is a rewarder of those who
diligently seek Him"
a. We must believe that God acts on the part of those seek
after Him – cf. 1 Chr 28:9; 2 Chr 16:9
b. It is regarding such "things hoped for", that we must have
confidence – He 11:1a
— Such was the faith seen in the lives of Abel, Enoch, and Noah;
one might ask, how do we develop such faith today…?
C. HOW SAVING FAITH IS DEVELOPED…
1. It is not the result of "credulity"
a. A common misconception is that faith is "blind"
b. That there is no logic or reason to faith, one simply
2. But faith as described in the Bible is the result of
a. Faith in God is the result of evidence provided via
creation – Ro 1:20; Psa 19:1
b. Faith in Jesus is the result of evidence provided via
revelation – Jn 20:30-31
— Certainly the "antediluvian" saints had such evidence,
including God speaking to them directly!
3. Today, faith comes "by hearing the word of God" – Ro 10:17
a. The word of God presents evidence to believe in God and
b. Such as fulfilled prophecy, eyewitness testimony, etc.
— Through God’s word, we can develop the kind of faith
(conviction) which pleases God! – cf. Ro 15:4
1. The faith which leads "to the saving of the soul" is one that
a. A strong conviction that God is
b. A strong confidence that He will reward those who diligently seek
2. It is the same kind of faith that we see in…
a. Abel, in how he worshipped God
b. Enoch, in how he walked with God
c. Noah, in how he worked for God
3. Do you have that same kind of faith today?
a. If you don’t, let the Word of God create such faith in you…
1) It can produce faith in the existence of God!
2) It can produce faith in Jesus as His Son who died for you!
b. If you do, then let it affect the manner in which you…
1) Worship God
2) Walk with God
3) Work for God
— As revealed through His Son Jesus Christ
With the right kind of faith, we can have the assurance that…
* God is pleased
* We are heirs "of the righteousness which is according to faith"
* We too will one day "obtain a good testimony"!