Faith, our foundation: Great faith

Hebrews 11--1,6

The Verse of the Day for May 1, 2016 is a scripture that is particularly meaningful to me, in that it is one of two scriptures that I used in the first Bible teaching that I conducted at youth camp when I was a rising high school sophomore:

Hebrews 11:6 (KJV):

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.

In this instance, faith, then can be said to be a kind of sine qua non, an indispensable condition, element, or factor; an essential ingredient. This verse reminds believers that faith is essential to building and maintaining a solid relationship with God, for without faith, it is impossible to please God.

Hebrews 11, known as the Hall of Faith, introduces an array of individuals who accomplished great spiritual exploits, as they walked by faith. Likewise, as we progress in our walk of faith, we learn that faith must be the firm foundation upon which we build. A number of years ago, I was asked write out my definition of faith and relate its application. Here is an excerpt from a statement entitled “Faith—the Bedrock of Our Lives”:

As followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, we grow and develop, while discovering that faith is the bedrock of our lives. We define faith as confident assurance, trust and conviction that we will prevail. Faith–“the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”– operates beyond what we see, for we walk by faith, not by sight.

In the midst thundering echoes of “No!” faith says “Yes!” Voices shout “You can’t,” but faith proclaims, “We can and we will!” At the point of total exhaustion, faith says, “Take one more step.” After more failed attempts than we can number, faith gives us courage to try one more time. Faith is tenacious—you hold on and never give up. Although the diagnosis, bank statement or other evidence says “No way!” faith responds with “God will make a way.”

In terms of illustrations of faith, we find excellent examples from the Bible and from the lives of great men and women who achieved impossible dreams. Despite a barrage of reasons why they would fail, they transformed failure into success. Without faith it is impossible . . . but with faith, the impossible becomes possible. We recognize and rejoice, knowing that “with God all things are possible.” Indeed, faith is our solid foundation. Like the wise man who built his house on the rock, when the storms of life approach, if we have laid a firm foundation, the house that we build will stand, for faith is our sure foundation.

Many years subsequent to my first teaching on faith, I was asked to share on faith and in the process of preparing to teach, I looked closely at individuals were described as having “great faith”, and I examined a question raised by  Jesus Christ,who wonders will he find faith when he returns. Both passages inspired the following poem which has since been modified and seems to be appropriate to add to our discussion at this point:

Will He Find Faith?

When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said

to those who followed

“Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith,

not even in Israel!

Matthew 8:10

And shall not God avenge his own elect,

which cry day and night unto him,

though he bear long with them?

I tell you that he will avenge them speedily.

Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh,

shall he find faith on the earth?

Luke 17:7-8

As servants of a king assess his vast treasure,
When the Lord returns will he find faith on the earth?
When He appraises our faith, what will it be worth?
When all is said and done, may we add our measure,
Though small as the grain of a tiny mustard seed.
Should the Lord come during the Age of the Gentiles,
May our faith be found so pure that nothing defiles.
May we be living by faith in word and in deed,
For God is ever faithful and His Word is true.
May such great faith descend from the centurion
To the faithful ones who bear this criterion:
Whatever God shall speak, this shall He also do.
We will still be walking by faith, not by what we see,
While pressing toward the mark, reaching toward our destiny.

Contemporary musical artists, Kutless, offer this remarkable reminder: “That’s what faith can do.”

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