You’ve probably heard of the Hollywood “Walk of Fame,” the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the “Hall of Fame” of various sports – but have you ever heard of the faith, “Hall of Fame?” That’s how the new testament book of Hebrews, chapter 11 is often referred. As usual, when we compare faith to the world, there’s a key difference, however. Let’s dive in to see what it is.
1 Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.
2 Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation.
3 By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.
(We could almost stop here and do a lesson just on these three verses! Let that sink in a bit and let’s keep going. It’ll help if you know all of the following stories. However, if you don’t, you’ll still get some value and it may inspire you to research them.)
Examples – The Faith “Hall of Fame”
4 It was by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God than Cain did. Abel’s offering gave evidence that he was a righteous man, and God showed his approval of his gifts. (“It was what he believed, not what he brought, that made the difference.” Message translation) Although Abel is long dead, he still speaks to us by his example of faith.
5 It was by faith that Enoch was taken up to heaven without dying—“he disappeared, because God took him.” For before he was taken up, he was known as a person who pleased God.
6 And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.
7 It was by faith that Noah built a large boat to save his family from the flood. He obeyed God, who warned him about things that had never happened before. By his faith Noah condemned the rest of the world, and he received the righteousness that comes by faith.
8 It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going.
9 And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith—for he was like a foreigner, living in tents. And so did Isaac and Jacob, who inherited the same promise.
10 Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God.
11 It was by faith that even Sarah was able to have a child, though she was barren and was too old. She believed that God would keep his promise.
12 And so a whole nation came from this one man who was as good as dead—a nation with so many people that, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore, there is no way to count them.
Faith – Seeing A “Heavenly Homeland” . . . “From A Distance”
13 All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth.
14 Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own.
15 If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back.
16 But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
Faith Hall of Fame – In Action
17 It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received God’s promises, was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac,18 even though God had told him, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted.”
19 Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again. And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son back from the dead.
20 It was by faith that Isaac promised blessings for the future to his sons, Jacob and Esau.
21 It was by faith that Jacob, when he was old and dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons and bowed in worship as he leaned on his staff.
22 It was by faith that Joseph, when he was about to die, said confidently that the people of Israel would leave Egypt. He even commanded them to take his bones with them when they left.
23 It was by faith that Moses’ parents hid him for three months when he was born. They saw that God had given them an unusual child, and they were not afraid to disobey the king’s command.
24 It was by faith that Moses, when he grew up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. (“. . . refused the privileges of the Egyptian royal house.” Message translation)
25 He chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin. (“He chose a hard life with God’s people rather than an opportunistic soft life of sin with the oppressors.” Message Translation)
26 He thought it was better to suffer for the sake of Christ than to own the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to his great reward.
27 It was by faith that Moses left the land of Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger. He kept right on going because he kept his eyes on the one who is invisible.
28 It was by faith that Moses commanded the people of Israel to keep the Passover and to sprinkle blood on the doorposts so that the angel of death would not kill their firstborn sons.
29 It was by faith that the people of Israel went right through the Red Sea as though they were on dry ground. But when the Egyptians tried to follow, they were all drowned.
30 It was by faith that the people of Israel marched around Jericho for seven days, and the walls came crashing down.
31 It was by faith that Rahab the prostitute was not destroyed with the people in her city who refused to obey God. For she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.
32 How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets.
Faith Hall of Fame – In This Life And The Next
33 By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions,34 quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight.
35 Women received their loved ones back again from death. But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection.
36 Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons.
37 Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated.
38 They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground.
39 All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised.
40 For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.
This isn’t a worship song, but I hope it inspires you and helps you think about this message. Check out the Script’s “Hall of Fame.”
- Think about the song and the lyrics. Think of the differences between achieving an earthly hall of fame vs. a faith hall of fame. Which one means more? Which one lasts longer?
- Here’s the key difference I hinted at in the beginning – which hall of fame is the easiest to enter? Most of us can’t be Lucille Ball, The Beatles or Babe Ruth. But ALL of us can learn from the faith heroes in Hebrews and learn to walk like them. ALL of us can get into the faith hall – by what we believe, NOT what we achieve! It’s a path of peace.
- It’s worth noting that when Jesus healed people, he often said, “your faith has made you well.” Look at the different areas of your own life – can you say the same? Does your faith humble you during the great times – and carry you during the tough times?
- If you want to read a little deeper and/or if the end of this chapter confused you at all, check out this commentary to bring it all together. Read the whole thing or just skip to bullet 11, points a, b and c, especially point c. (Commentaries are deeper explanations of scripture passages. You can Google, “Commentary Hebrews 11” or any other scripture to learn more on your own!)
Lord, I pray for our community, our nation and our world to look to you. I pray that we can all have the hope and the faith to become the best version of ourselves at every level. Help us to see that we have control over our own destiny. Help us make the right decisions and guide our path to get there. Let us build our faith by paying attention. Open our eyes to see over and over again that no matter what the temptation or struggle – you are the answer. You are always there for us – so we should always act like it. Always. That’s what gets us into your faith hall of fame. That’s “the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” Have your way with us. Bring out the best in us through our faith. Amen!
May God bless you!
Thank you for attending The Path “Quick Church” in written form. The Path is our church “brand name,” connected with our recovery ministry, “Mission Addiction.” We’d love to know what you think of this message. What spoke to you the most? Please like, comment, and share with others. Or contact us to ask questions, go into more detail or work more on your faith walk together! Everyone is welcome at our events, listed on our Facebook events or Eventbrite page. You can attend online or in-person. The same goes for our MAP For Healing and Recovery aftercare and discipleship program.