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Hebrews Chapter 11

Memory verses for this week:  2 Pet 3:13  Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. 

Introduction:  In Chapter 10, we found that the law made nothing perfect, but the blood shed at Calvary was the perfect sacrifice that God required for us to have total forgiveness of sin.   We now come directly to God by Jesus Christ, our High Priest who ever lives to make intercession for us.  The wall of partition between man and God was broken down when Jesus died for our sins.  This week we cover the topic of faith as we get into Chapter 11 which has been called the bible’s chapter of faith.


 I.  Definition of Faith

Heb 11:1  Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Heb 11:2  For by it the elders obtained a good report.

Heb 11:3  Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

To understand faith, we need to understand it’s definition.   Verse 1 makes it pretty clear.  Faith is a belief in things we have not seen, heard, or felt.   It means we take God at His word.    Verse 6 of this text tells us that it is impossible to please God without faith.  Faith is one of the key ingredients in salvation when we come to Jesus with faith and repentance to be saved.  By faith we accept that God created the universe, and all that is in the universe.   No man was present when God created the heaven and the earth, so we must accept God on this fact.

Heb 11:6  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.

Job 38:1  Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said,

Job 38:2  Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?

Job 38:3  Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me.

Job 38:4  Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.

Job 38:5  Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?

Job 38:6  Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;

Job 38:7  When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

II.  The Faith of Abel

Heb 11:4  By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.

God was pleased with Abel’s offering, but he was not with Cain.  In Albert Barne’s notes on the bible, he said that Cain’s offering of the fruits of the land was perfectly ok.  He stated: “It could not have been because an offering of the fruits of the ground was not pleasing to God, for such an offering was commanded under the Jewish Law, and was not in itself improper.”   I disagree with his assumption.  Most likely, Adam had taught those young men what kind of offering God required, and it was a blood sacrifice.  Cain brought the very best he could from the works of his own hands, but that was not good enough in God’s sight.  Those who come to God one day and stand in their own works will not enter into heaven.  Only by the shed blood of Jesus will we stand in God’s presence.  I agree with what the Bible Believers’ study guide said on this verse:

 11:4 Abel’s sacrifice of faith was more acceptable to God than Cain’s due to both the nature of the sacrifice and the attitude in which it was offered. That the nature of the sacrifice (a substitutionary animal) was more acceptable than Cain’s inferior offering of the fruit of the ground is attested in two places in this verse: Abel presented “a more excellent sacrifice,” and God was “testifying of his gifts.” Also see 12:24, in which still another reference is made to the nature of Abel’s sacrifice.  [1]

Heb 12:24  And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. 

Gen 4:4  And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:

Gen 4:5  But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.

Abel’s offering was an animal sacrifice, and it was a  blood sacrifice.  Cain’s sacrifice came from the fruit of the ground, the same ground that God had cursed.   Cain’s offering was the works of his hands, and works can never take away one sin.

Hebrews 9:22   And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.


III.  The Faith of Enoch

Heb 11:5  By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.

Heb 11:6  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.

By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death.   We find this in Genesis 5:24.

Genesis 5:24   And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.

The only other man who was recorded to not die was Elijah.  He was translated in the presence of Elisha.

2 Kings 2:1-11  And it came to pass, when the LORD would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. 2 And Elijah said unto Elisha, Tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Bethel. And Elisha said unto him, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they went down to Bethel. 3 And the sons of the prophets that were at Bethel came forth to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he said, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace. 4 And Elijah said unto him, Elisha, tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Jericho. And he said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they came to Jericho. 5 And the sons of the prophets that were at Jericho came to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he answered, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace. 6 And Elijah said unto him, Tarry, I pray thee, here; for the LORD hath sent me to Jordan. And he said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And they two went on. 7 And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went, and stood to view afar off: and they two stood by Jordan.  8 And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so that they two went over on dry ground.   9 And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. 10 And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so.  11 And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. 

Another interesting fact about Enoch is that he was one of two men who were recorded to have walked with God.  (Noah being the other.)  Perhaps the responsibility of being a father cause Enoch to walk with God.  Until Methuselah was born, we have no record that he walked with God.  Every parent should understand how serious a job we have and do our best to seek God’s help and guidance every day of our lives.   To walk with God means we have to agree with him.  A walk with the Lord will draw us closer to Him.  Enoch had a testimony that he pleased God, and as we have read in verse 6, it is impossible to please God unless we have faith.   Anyone that ever comes to God has to believe He is God and trust Him in faith.

IV.  The Faith of Noah

Heb 11:7  By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

During the days of Noah, the bible records that every imagination of the thoughts of man’s heart was only evil continually, but Noah found grace in the sight of the Lord.  The bible is full of examples of how one man can make a gigantic difference when his heart is turned wholly to the Lord.

Gen 6:5  And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Gen 6:6  And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.

Gen 6:7  And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.

Gen 6:8  But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.


2 Pet 2:5  And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; 

1 Pet 3:18  For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

1 Pet 3:19  By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;

1 Pet 3:20  Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

1 Pet 3:21  The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

Some take verse 20 to read that the water saved Noah and his family.  It was not the water but the ark they were in that saved them.   God has an ark for the child of God today.   Those who know Jesus are secure and will not perish.  But when the judgment comes on this old world, only those inside the ark will be saved.  Baptism is a picture of what saves man today.  It shows the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.  In that image, we see our old man dying (to the things of the flesh) the new spiritual man rising up to walk in newness of life. 

1 Cor 15:1  Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

1 Cor 15:2  By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

1 Cor 15:3  For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

1 Cor 15:4  And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:


Rom 1:16  For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

Rom 1:17  For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.


V.  Faith of Abraham and Sarah

Heb 11:8  By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.

Heb 11:9  By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:

Heb 11:10  For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

You and I are like Abraham in that we too look for a city whose builder and maker is God.   And like Abraham (if we know Christ as Savior), we will see that city one day.   Abraham was told to go to a place he did not even know, and by faith he trusted God and went.   Some days, you and I face things that we do not know how we will manage to get through.  In those times, we need to have the faith to know that God is with us every step of the way.

Heb 11:11  Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.

Heb 11:12  Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.

Heb 11:13  These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

Heb 11:14  For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.

Heb 11:15  And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.

Heb 11:16  But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

There are so many miracles recorded in the bible.  From the physical human standpoint, perhaps none are greater than to see a 90 year old woman bearing a child, from a husband who was a 100 years of age.  With man, this is impossible,  but with God, all things are possible.

Gen 17:17  Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?

Gen 17:18  And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee!

Gen 17:19  And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.


J. Vernon McGee said this about Sarah.

When God told Sarah at ninety years of age that she was to have a child, she laughed because it was ridiculous—it seemed utterly preposterous. She couldn’t accept it, but God gave her the strength and power to believe Him. Many of us need such strength. Do you remember the man who brought the demon-possessed boy to the Lord Jesus? The Lord Jesus told the man that He could help him if he would believe. The man said, “I believe. Help thou mine unbelief.” The man recognized that he had a weak faith, but the Lord Jesus must have given him the faith because He healed the boy (see Mark 9:17–27). Sarah had a little boy named Isaac. Why? She “received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.” Sarah represents the power (or strength) of faith.   [2]

Heb 11:17  By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son.

Heb 11:18  Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:

Heb 11:19  Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.

Abraham had tremendous faith.   Even when God told him to go and sacrifice his only son Isaac on Mt. Moriah,  Abraham had such faith that he believed if he did have to put Isaac to death as a sacrifice, God would raise him from the dead.  This was a test only, and we know as Abraham raised the knife to slay Isaac, an angel of the Lord stayed his hand and told Abraham that there was a ram in the bush to offer rather than Isaac’s.   We have that substitute lamb today, and that is Jesus Christ.  Oh to have the faith in God that Abraham and Sarah had.  He believed  that what God had promised,  he was able to do.

Rom 4:20  He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;

Rom 4:21  And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.


VI.  The Faith of Isaac and Jacob

Heb 11:20  By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.

Heb 11:21  By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.

As Abraham was blessed by his great faith, his son Isaac was a man of faith.   God blessed Isaac with two sons, Jacob and Esau.  And through Jacob, the nation of Israel was born.    God blessed Jacob and Esau with prophetic blessings.

Gen 27:26  And his father Isaac said unto him, Come near now, and kiss me, my son.

Gen 27:27  And he came near, and kissed him: and he smelled the smell of his raiment, and blessed him, and said, See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which the LORD hath blessed:

Gen 27:28  Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine:

Gen 27:29  Let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother's sons bow down to thee: cursed be every one that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee.

Jacob blessed Joseph’s two sons.

Gen 48:13  And Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Israel's left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand toward Israel's right hand, and brought them near unto him.

Gen 48:14  And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon Ephraim's head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh's head, guiding his hands wittingly; for Manasseh was the firstborn.

Gen 48:15  And he blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day,

Gen 48:16  The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.

Gen 48:17  And when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand upon the head of Ephraim, it displeased him: and he held up his father's hand, to remove it from Ephraim's head unto Manasseh's head.

Gen 48:18  And Joseph said unto his father, Not so, my father: for this is the firstborn; put thy right hand upon his head.

Gen 48:19  And his father refused, and said, I know it, my son, I know it: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations.

Gen 48:20  And he blessed them that day, saying, In thee shall Israel bless, saying, God make thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh: and he set Ephraim before Manasseh.

VII.  Faith of Joseph

Heb 11:22  By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.

Joseph asked the nation of Israel to carry his bones out of Egypt when they left.

Gen 50:24  And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.

Gen 50:25  And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence.

Joseph believed God’s promise to Israel about them being delivered.

Gen 15:13  And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years;

Gen 15:14  And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.

Gen 15:15  And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age.

Gen 15:16  But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.


VIII.  Faith of Moses

Heb 11:23  By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king's commandment.

Heb 11:24  By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter;

Heb 11:25  Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;

Heb 11:26  Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward.

Moses was born during a very horrible time when the king had commanded that all male children be killed at birth.  But Moses’ parents feared God more than man, and came up with a plan to try and save the baby’s life.   We don’t have time to go into the story, but you know how his mother made a small ark and placed it in the bulrushes in the river where the Hebrews were to drown the babies.   And in the perfect plan of God, Pharaoh’s daughter came along and found the baby and raised it as her own, hiring Moses’ mother to be the baby’s keeper.  That mother no doubt taught Moses the truth, and at an early age, he decided to serve God rather than the flesh.  He chose to suffer with the people of God.

Heb 11:27  By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.

Heb 11:28  Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.

Heb 11:29  By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.

Moses was chosen by God at the tender age of 80 to lead the nation of Israel out of Egypt to the promised land.   And there are so many instances of faith that we can not go into the details, but Moses was a man of faith.  God called him “my servant.”  No greater words could be spoken of a man than to be a true servant of the Lord.

Josh 1:2  Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel.


IX.  The Faith of Joshua, Israel, and Rahab

Heb 11:30  By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.

Heb 11:31  By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.

Joshua and the nation of Israel performed many great things by faith under the leadership of the Lord.   And Rahab, a harlot of the night, was saved and was used to help bring the walls of Jericho down.  She and her family were spared when Israel overthrew Jericho.   God can use anyone who truly wants to be used in the service of the Lord.

Josh 6:23  And the young men that were spies went in, and brought out Rahab, and her father, and her mother, and her brethren, and all that she had; and they brought out all her kindred, and left them without the camp of Israel.

Josh 6:24  And they burnt the city with fire, and all that was therein: only the silver, and the gold, and the vessels of brass and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the LORD.

Josh 6:25  And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive, and her father's household, and all that she had; and she dwelleth in Israel even unto this day; because she hid the messengers, which Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.

X.  Other Numerous Heroes of Faith

Heb 11:32  And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:

Heb 11:33  Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,

Heb 11:34  Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.

Heb 11:35  Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:

Heb 11:36  And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:

Heb 11:37  They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;

Heb 11:38  (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

Heb 11:39  And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:

Heb 11:40  God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

Mighty deeds of faith were accomplished by all those mentioned.  Just think of the armies God overthrew with the 300 men that Gideon led.  Faithfulness produces a good report of faith.   There are many who are not named in the bible who have died with faith that you and I might have the opportunity to come to know Christ as our Lord and Savior.  It says in verse 39 that all of these who died had not received the promise, because Christ had not yet come and died.  We will all rise together one day when Christ returns and receive the promise with all of those who died in faith. 


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Prov 4:18  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.


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