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1 Corinthians 9:11
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Relationship With Jesus
The Key To Effective Ministry

Section 11, Chapter 2

The Faith That Pleases God

(Commentary on the Book Of Hebrews Ch. 11)

Page 1 of 2
Study Questions

There are many things we can do without faith. We can get married, we can buy a home, we can if talented enough make a million dollars. What is it we cannot do without faith? WE CANNOT PLEASE GOD. The writer of Hebrews tells us in Hebrews 11:6,

"And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that he is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him."

We can do almost anything in this world if we set our mind to it, but if we do anything without faith we cannot please God.

If we can only please God with faith, then it is important to understand what the Bible means by faith and when we are walking in faith and when we are not. There are many kinds of faith in the Bible. The first kind of faith we need to have to please God is saving faith. The Apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:8-9,

"For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast."

This is not blind faith, but faith in God's promises in his word proved absolutely reliable and true through the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. When we receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord we believe God the Father's promise to us in 1 John 5:11-12,

"And the witness is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life."

It is a decision of the will to have faith in God's promise and witness to us that to have His Son is to have eternal life.

The Book of Hebrews gives us several examples of what the Bible means by faith and the only kind of faith that will please God and gain His approval in our lives. First, the faith that pleases God is a faith that believes Him even though what He has said or promised is not seen. An example the writer of Hebrews gives us of this kind of faith is God's creation of the earth and the universe. He tells us in Verse 3,

"By faith we understand that the ages were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible."

The first kind of faith that pleases God is to believe what He has revealed to us in His word about His creating the Heavens and the Earth in six literal twenty-four hour days. This is not something we can see or witness. We must accept it by faith, though not blind faith, because again Jesus proved to us that what Genesis tells us about how the known earth and universe came into being is true through His coming back physically alive! from the dead. Darwin is still dead and in the grave. There were 512 witnesses to the fact of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. These people talked, ate and touched the Risen Christ for forty days. Luke tells us in Acts 1:3,

"To these he also presented Himself alive, after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days, and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God."

So even though we did not witness God creating the heavens and the earth in six literal twenty-four hour days, nevertheless we accept it by faith and this kind of faith pleases God.

The second kind of faith that the writer of Hebrews tells us that pleases God is when we approach Him the way He wants us to, not the way we want to. The writer of Hebrews tells us,

"By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks." (Heb 11:4).

Why was Abel declared righteous by God? Because Abel approached God according to His instructions. His instructions where that they were to approach Him through the sacrificing of a lamb in the Old Testament. Now the only way we can approach God is through his Son Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God. Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me." Jesus now is our only way to God and the only way we can approach God and God be pleased with our faith.

Cain, on the other hand did not listen to what God told him to do in his approach to Him, but instead tried to approach God through his own works, the fruit of the ground. Cain was a farmer. God rejected this sacrifice of Cain. Why? Because Cain did not approach God in Faith. Faith here meaning he did not approach God the way God instructed Cain to approach Him. When we approach God according to His instructions, we are walking in faith and we are exercising faith that pleases God. This is why religious works do not please God. He has made plain to us through His raising Jesus from the dead that the only way we can approach Him and receive His favor is by approaching Him through His Son Jesus Christ.

The next kind of faith, the writer of Hebrews tells us, that pleases God is when we make a decision of our wills to believe that God is and choose to believe He hears our prayers and will answer them even though we cannot see Him or feel Him or see the answer to our prayers immediately upon request. I first experienced this kind of faith years ago while living up in the mountains. I was attending a Full Gospel Church one Wednesday night when the Minister told us that we were going to get on our knees and agonize in prayer until we got answers. I had a lot of things on my mind that night and decided this was a good idea. But before the Minister had us start this prayer meeting, the Lord brought to my mind Hebrews 11:6,

"And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that he is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him."

Then the Lord said to me,

Dale, you do not need to agonize in prayer for answers from Me. When he gets ready to start the prayer meeting I want you to leave, go get a soda and a candy bar and while eating them, I want you to write down on a piece of paper the things that are concerning you. Then Worship Me and wait before me through worship and praise (Ps 100; Jn 4:23-24, 14:21) until You hear Me say, "What do you want?" When you do, make your requests to Me, thank Me for the answers and then go home and go to bed.

I did exactly that. I acknowledged that He was, that He was a rewarder of those who seek him, told Him my requests, thanked Him for the answers and then went home and went to bed. I was listening to Paul Harvey on the radio during my lunch break at work when the Lord decided to give me answers to the things I had asked Him for wisdom about the night before. It was not on my mind at the time, but the night before I believed Him for the answers. Why He chose at that moment to manifest those answers I do not know, but once I made my requests known to Him the night before, I did not ask Him again, but just kept thanking Him in faith for the answers. In this capacity, we are walking in faith and pleasing God when against our feelings we make a willful decision to acknowledge His existence and His goodness to answer any prayer we make to Him.

The next kind of faith that pleases God, according to the writer of Hebrews, is when we walk in obedience to His dictates to each of our lives individually through the Holy Spirit. He cites several examples of this: first, there was Noah who built an ark because God told him there was a flood coming. What made this a real exercise in faith for Noah was the fact that previous to the flood it had never rained on the earth. Genesis 2:5-6 tells us that God caused a mist to rise from the earth and water the whole surface of the ground. Therefore, it was not just a matter of obedience to build a boat for an upcoming flood, but having faith that this flood was going to come about through a rain he had never seen before. He was literally walking in obedience by faith, not by sight.

The writer of Hebrews tells us that Abraham demonstrated this kind of faith when he obeyed God and left his home land to receive an inheritance in another land God promised him. He later demonstrated this kind of faith when he in obedience to God offered up Isaac his son. Their faith was manifested through their obedience to God. This is the kind of faith Paul is talking about in Romans 14:23 when he says, "And whatever is not from faith is sin." Isaiah makes this more plain for us in Isaiah 30:1,

"‘Woe to the rebellious children,’ declares Yehovah, ‘Who execute a plan, but not Mine, and make an alliance, but not of My Spirit, In order to add sin to sin.’"

In this capacity we are exercising faith that pleases God when what we do in personality, vocation and life-style is only out of God's initiative in our lives, not our own. This is what the writer of Hebrews is talking about in Hebrews 3:2 when he says about Jesus, "He was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was in all His house." The faithfulness of Jesus that he is talking about here was Jesus’ faithfulness to only act and speak out of the Father's initiative, not His own (See John 5:19, 12:48-50).

Study Questions
Continued on page 2
Bibliography & Notes
Section 11 Chapters

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