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The Nature of Faith - Hebrews 11:1

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1. What is faith? What does it mean to believe?

a. Some Christians think it means blind acceptance: You've just got to believe

b. Some skeptics agree: Faith is believing in something without good reasons to do so

2. Both are mistaken; such ignorance of the nature of faith leads to

a. Shallowness of faith among Christians

b. Prejudice against faith among skeptics





1. Faith as defined by Easton's Bible Dictionary:

a. Faith is in general the persuasion of the mind that a certain statement is true

b. Its primary idea is trust

2. It is a strong conviction or trust in something

3. For example: you have faith that your parents are indeed your parents

a. Based upon your confidence in the reliability of their word

b. Such conviction or trust prompts you to respond accordingly

4. We have such faith (trust, conviction) in many things

a. We believe in George Washington as a person of history

b. We believe in commercial aviation as a safe way to travel

5. Faith is trust or conviction in something or someone


1. Many people believe that faith is something blind ("you just gotta believe")

a. Yes, faith can be a conviction in things unseen - Hebrews 11:1

b. Yes, we can walk by faith, not by sight - 2 Corinthians 5:7

2. But there can be sound reasons (i.e., evidence) for believing in what you cannot see

a. Just as you believe in George Washington, though you have never seen him

b. Just as you believe in who your parents are, though you can't remember who was there at your birth

3. Other people believe that faith is a special gift from God for a select few

a. In one sense faith is indeed a gift from God - Ephesians 2:8

b. But while faith owes its ultimate source to God, it is available to all

c. For God desires all men to be saved - 1 Timothy 2:3-6

d. God desires that which produces saving faith to be proclaimed to all - Romans 1:16

4. The fact is that faith comes from evidence, provided by God Himself

a. Evidence of His existence in the universe - Psalms 19:1-3; Romans 1:19-20

b. Evidence of signs and wonders so we might believe in His Son - John 20:30-31

5. Faith in the Bible is not blind faith, it is trust based on evidence




1. God expects us to use our minds - Matthew 22:36-38; John 8:32

a. We do not have to commit intellectual suicide in order to have faith

b. I am grateful, for my heart cannot rejoice in what my mind rejects!

c. Indeed, a weak faith is the result of the heart trying to believe what the mind rejects

2. Does this mean we can have 100% proof? No, but:

a. We often commit 100% with less than 100% proof

b. As when flying on an airplane (no 100% guarantee, but we commit 100% anyway)

c. Because the safety of commercial aviation makes it a rational, intelligent decision

3. So the question becomes: "Is there enough evidence to warrant making a 100% commitment to Christ?" I believe there is:

a. Certainly enough to commit myself 100% for Him, rather than be 100% against Him!

b. There is no other alternative - Matthew 12:30

c. Jesus is like an airplane; either we get on board totally, or we get left behind!

4. The Christian faith is based on making a rational, intelligent decision


1. Christianity appeals to history, and the facts of history

2. The facts backing the Christian claim are not a special kind of religious fact. They are the cognitive, informational facts upon which all historical, legal, and ordinary decisions are based

3. Notice the historical reference to time, places, people and events - Luke 2:1-5; 3:1-2

4. Thus it is not a faith based on philosophy, myths, or legends

5. The Christian faith is based on facts of history


1. Faith (trust) in an object: Jesus of Nazareth

a. Faith in who He is: The Christ, the Son of God

b. Faith in what He did: He rose from the dead on the third day

2. It does make a difference what we believe

a. The old cliché, It doesn't matter what you believe, as long as you believe in something is inconsistent with Christian faith

b. It is not faith in of itself that is important

c. But in Whom (the object) our faith is based - John 8:24; Romans 10:9

3. The Christian faith is trust or conviction in a Person (Jesus)


1. A faith (conviction, trust) based on evidence

2. Evidence such as eyewitness testimony - Acts 10:39-41; 13:31; 1 John 1:1-4

a. The same type of evidence used in a court of law

b. Basing convictions on the credibility of witnesses

3. Evidence such as fulfilled prophecy - Acts 17:2-3; 18:28; 26:22-23

a. Based on the improbability of over 300 fulfilled prophecies being coincidence

b. When just 8 prophecies and their fulfillment are considered, the likelihood of coincidence is 1 in 10 to the 17th power

c. With just 48 prophecies the probability is 1 in 10 to the 157th power - virtually impossible

4. The Christian faith is based on such evidence



1. We have seen that the nature of faith, in particular the Christian faith, is:

a. Trust that is intelligent and rational

b. Trust in a person of history, Jesus of Nazareth

c. Trust in who He is, what He did

d. Trust based on empirical and reasonable evidence

2. Faith (trust) does lead to believing in things not seen:

a. Such as God who is invisible - John 1:18; 1 John 4:12

b. Such as promises we hope to receive (resurrection, eternal life) - Romans 8:24

3. But such faith is not blind belief:

a. There is solid evidence for such faith...

b. Which in turn leads us to trust in things not seen

4. Only those ignorant of the evidence:

a. Ridicule faith

b. Find themselves wavering in their own faith


Examine the evidence and believe!


Are You Saved?


-- Don Treadway, January 2011 -- -info  


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