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Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor
Twelfth Sunday After Pentecost
From Rev. Kelly Bedard
Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16
(The outline is inspired by an
article by Douglas John Hall entitled Faith: Response in Relationship)
A. Faith is not:
1. "I believe that...":
mere doctrinal formulations
2. But "I believe in...": personal
dimension, feeling, experience
B. Faith is:
1. Trust: involving renewed and
perpetual "decision" and risk(s)
2. Response: vacillating from doubt to
understanding, blindness to sight
(Note under B.1. that "decision" is only and
1. hupostasis (verse 1): confidence,
confident, person, substance; a setting or placing under; thing put
under, substructure, foundation; that which has foundation, is firm; that
which has actual existence;
a substance, real being; the substantial quality, nature, of a person or thing; the steadfastness of mind, firmness, courage, resolution; confidence, firm trust, assurance
2. elegchos (verse 1): reproof, evidence; a
proof, that by which a thing is proved or tested; conviction
3. Consider any deep relationship in which you find
yourself--with your spouse, your lover, your close friends, your parents or your
children. In such relationships there is mutuality. You trust and are trusted by
the other. But this trust is continually put to the test. You can't be sure!
That's very fortunate; people who are absolutely sure of their partners,
relatives or friends become presumptuous. They take the relationship for
granted. But it is the element of risk that keeps the relationships alive. The
decision to trust the other has to be made again and again--and for that reason
the relationship does not grow cold.
4. Doubt, as the constant reminder of the risk in faith,
plays a vital role in the life of faith. The Bible is wonderfully honest about
the doubting of the faithful. Sometimes people speak admiringly of the patience
and faith of Job. But in fact most of the book of Job is about Job's struggle
with God. He comes to doubt God radically. He feels he has been betrayed. So
does Jesus--if we listen attentively to his "cry of dereliction" from
the cross. Faith in God is not an easy thing. Who could take it seriously if it
5. Faith is not blind. It cannot comprehend everything. But
it wants to know. (Hall)
6. Genuine faith is always humble, and the understanding
that belongs to the life of faith (theology!) must be modest understanding,
because it is only "on the way" to the living Truth; it has not
"arrived." But faith also contains a lively hope, for despite its own
limitations it already anticipates the completion of itself in
"sight." For the present, "we see in a mirror dimly, but then
face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have
been fully understood" (1 Corinthians 13:12).
From Rev. Wayne Dobratz
The Hall Of Fame Of Faith
Introduction: The Baseball Hall of Fame held its induction
ceremony a few weeks ago. One inductee had to decide which team he would
represent when inducted. Another was elected by the Veterans Committee and
was so moved that he couldnt finished his speech.
The Bible tells us that only those who trust in Jesus are
eligible for Faiths Hall of Fame. Todays Old Testament Reading and
Epistle use a veteran believer, Abraham, the Father of all
Believers as the example to follow.
THE HALL OF FAME OF FAITH
I. Believing without seeing is how the ancient believers
were commended by God and inducted into the Hall of Fame.
A. As regarding the Creation of the Worldv. 3, See also John 20:29
B. As Abraham went to Canaan without knowing his destinationvv.8-9.
C. As Abraham trusted God to give him an heirv.11
II. Characteristics of those enshrined in Faiths Hall of Fame
A. They lived by faith, trusting in the promises even though they did not live to see them fulfilled-v. 13, 2 Cor 4:18ff.
B. They lived not for this life (aliens and strangers on earth), but for the nextvv. 13-16, Phil. 1:23.
C. They thought of Heaven as a better countryv. 16
III. They will live in Gods Heavenly Cityv.16b
A. See Heb. 13:14
B. Rev. 21:1-7; 10ff.
Winston Churchill planned his own funeral. There were stately hymns in St. Pauls Cathedral and an impressive liturgy. But at the end of the service, Churchill had something different planned. When they said the Benediction, a bugler high up on one side of the Dome of St. Pauls Cathedral played
Taps, the universal signal that the day is over. There was a long pause. Then a bugler on the other side played Reveille, the military wake-up call.
It was Churchills way of saying that, while we say
Good Night here, its Good Morning up there. Now why could he do
that? Because he believed in Jesus Christ, who said, I am the Resurrection
and the Life. He who believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.
Billy Graham said: Ive read the last page of the
Bible. Its going to turn out alright.
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This page was revised on: Friday, January 20, 2006 12:10:33 PM