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

11 August 2019

Pentecost 9 Sermon: By Faith

Preached on Hebrews 11:1–16
9th Sunday After Pentecost — Proper 14C
11 August AD 2019

Title: Click to hear the MP3 of By Faith.

Hebrews 11 Summary: Pop star George Michael sang — over and over and over — “I gotta have faith” in the 1987 song “Faith” from the album Faith. Yet for all the “faith” he mentioned, nothing in Michael’s song resembles the faith commended by Scripture and counted by the Lord as righteousness.

Faith counted as righteousness is faith in the Savior. It’s so much more than merely professing, “I’m a believer” or trusting that “the sun will come out tomorrow.” Abel, Enoch, Noah, and Abraham looked forward to the promised Redeemer.

Likewise, we look to Him who fulfilled God’s promises to the saints of old. This isn’t merely looking back to Bethlehem and Calvary but seeing Jesus now as He comes in Word and Sacrament. We know the historical truth concerning the One “born of the Virgin Mary” who “suffered under Pontius Pilate” and our God-given faith believes that His sacrifice paid for all our sins and brought us peace with God, who counts our faith in Jesus’ suffering and death as our righteousness.

With the OT believers, we also look forward, awaiting the fulfillment of one last promise. The faithful throughout time anticipate the Day when He calls all believers to enter Paradise. Our faith will be completed at the sight of Jesus welcoming us into everlasting life.

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 By Faith.

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

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