How can I be focused on heaven? There is so much going on in my life! I need to worry about the evil all around me. That is a good reason for worry! We live in uncertain times. This Sunday we could be focused on doubt, worry, and evil, just as easily as we focus on heaven. To be sure these can all be challenges to our faith. So let’s focus on faith and in doing so we will lift our eye to our heavenly home.
Faith is a wonderful term that can be a little hard to get our arms around. The writer to the Hebrews defines it in this way. 1Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. God is saying that faith is confidence. Faith is confident hope – hope in what? Let me use Jesus’ words in the upper room. “Because I live, you also will live.” Ours is the sure hope of the resurrection of the dead and a heavenly home. The confident hope that Jesus loves us, that we are his children. Faith looks ahead to events that haven’t happened yet. How can you be so sure of the future? Why is faith absolute assurance?
That brings us to the second definition of faith. Faith is assurance. Being sure in what? Being sure of all of God’s promises: that God made the world, that Jesus died for your sins in mine, that he loves you. Faith is confident assurance. The simplest word that I can think of to describe faith is trust. And so a lack of faith could be called doubt.
I think before we move off the definition we need to ask how do we get more faith. A common prayer is, “Lord strengthen my faith.” Is that the best way? Just ask God and he’ll give us more? I think prayer has a vital role in the lives of Christians, but I don’t think creating faith is one of them.
Let me give you an example. There was a man from the crowds who approach Jesus with a demon-possessed son. He said to Jesus, “Lord if you can help him, cast out the demon.” Jesus said, “If you can? What do you mean if you can? Everything is possible for him who believes – for him who has faith.” The man’s answer is curious. “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief.” The man couldn’t trust Jesus, he really wanted to. But he didn’t really know him, so he couldn’t have the confident assurance that Jesus could help. He couldn’t focus on faith that wasn’t there.
Want to hear more? Watch this week’s message taken from Hebrews 11 – Focused on Heaven.
Speaker(s): Fred Guldberg