Sermons by Pastor Walter Snyder plus announcements, articles, videos, and anything else that doesn’t fit Ask the Pastor or the Luther Library.

07 August 2016

Pentecost 12 Sermon: The Evidence of Faith

Preached on Hebrews 11:1-16
The Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost — Proper 14C
7 August AD 2016

Title: The Evidence of Faith (MP3 Audio)

Hoet: Enoch Translated Summary: While Christians sometimes speak of childlike belief as “blind faith,” this gift of the Holy Spirit is anything but blind. Rather, faith is the believer’s clear-eyed, evidence-driven certainty. Faith is built on the Word of God in the testimony of the prophets and the apostles and the recorded deeds of our God as He worked to bring salvation to fallen mankind.

The world’s evidence is that everyone dies. God’s testimony is abundant, eternal life. The world gives evidence of decay. God says, “I am making all things new. (Revelation 21:5)” The world shows why you should despair. God “has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. (1 Peter 1:3)”

God’s evidence clearly points out that our faith and hope come not because we earn them but as pure gift. We inherit eternal life through the righteousness of faith, knowing that we own no native righteousness. Faith leads us to confess that we are “poor, miserable sinners,” which is a pretty major handicap to earning any favor with God. Faith also leads us to believe and confess that we are saved by grace for the sake of Christ, who earned every blessing that we now possess and every one still promised.

Schnorr von Carolsfeld: Abraham and Sarah Promised a Son Text: Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.

By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks.

By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.

By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.

These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city. Hebrews 11:1-16

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of The Evidence of Faith

Illustrations: Translation of Enoch from Figures de la Bible (1728), illustrated by Gerard Hoet. Abraham and Sarah Promised a Son from Die Bibel in Bildern (1860), illustrated by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media Player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: Psalm 33:12-22; Genesis 15:1-6; Luke 12:22-34 (35-40)

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