God expects His people to live by faith. But what does living by faith look like? These examples of faith found in Hebrews chapter eleven will encourage your heart and strengthen your confidence in God.
Hebrews 11 is an incredible chapter detailing what faith is, what faith does, and what faith can do for you. It overflows with precious truths about faith.
There are 17 people named in Hebrews 11 as examples of those who showed faith. This portion of Scripture is known as the Hall of Faith.
These testimonies are patterns of faith meant to encourage us to believe God.Testimonies of what faith did in others' lives are powerful illustrations of what God can do through your faith. Click To Tweet
How do we learn to live by faith? We learn in the same way we learn other things.
There are three categories of learning.
- Teaching – This includes every form of education, including reading, studying, and listening.
- Time – This is learning by life experience over time.
- Testimony – This is learning from the testimony and example of others. Modeling is the most potent form of teaching and the most memorable form of learning.
God has given us examples of faith. These testimonies of what faith did in others’ lives are powerful illustrations of what God can do through your faith.
Consider each of the people mentioned in Hebrews 11 and what their faith can teach us.
1. Abel Taught Us Faith Can Save Our Souls.
“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.”
Abel’s account in Scripture may be short, but His testimony lives forever.
In Genesis 4, we see the sons of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, bring on offering to God. Cain was a tiller of the ground and brought vegetables. Abel was a shepherd and brought a blood sacrifice. God accepted the offering of Abel and rejected Cains offering.
These men knew that God needed a blood sacrifice. No doubt, they had been told the story of sin and redemption many times.
To cover their parents’ sins, God had to sacrifice an innocent lamb for the skins to cover Adam and Eve.
Redemption requires a blood sacrifice.
“And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.”
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, shed His sinless blood on the Cross to pay for the sins of all humanity.
“In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;”
“But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.”
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ, we can accept forgiveness and save our souls from Hell.Jesus Christ, the Son of God, shed His sinless blood on the Cross to pay for the sins of all humanity. Click To Tweet
2. Enoch Taught Us Faith Pleases God.
“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.”
Not much is said about Enoch in the Scriptures. Here is the entire account of Enoch in Genesis.
“And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.”
Enoch walked so closely to God that our LORD translated him to Heaven, bypassing the process of death.
Faith is central to the Christian life. Without faith, we cannot please God. With faith, we can move mountains! Through faith, we accomplish everything from the ordinary to the impossible.
What is faith? Bible faith is belief in God and His Word. Here is a simple definition of personal faith:
“Faith is the measure of your personal confidence in God.”
Faith is the noun form of words like “believe” and “trust.”The Christian life begins with faith and lives by it daily. Through faith, we are saved, sanctified, and serve.
3. Noah Taught Us Faith Can Save Our Families.
“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.”
God told Noah to build an ark to save his family and the animals. Why? Rain and floods would overtake the Earth killing all that was not in the ark. There was only one problem. It had never rained!
Noah believed God and saved His family.
Your faith can save your family, as well.
1 Timothy 4:16
“Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.”
Believe God. Trust Him in your daily life. Your family will be blessed.
4. Abraham Taught Us Faith Can Guide Our Steps.
“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. 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: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”
Abraham stepped out by faith. Literally. He followed a direction even though He didn’t know the destination. What a tremendous encouragement for us!
“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: And he delighteth in his way.”
You don’t need all the information to trust God. You won’t know the details before you begin. All you need to know is the next step. As you follow God in faith, the next step will become clear.
5. Sara Taught Us Faith Can Do The Impossible.
“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.”
Sara was beyond child-bearing years. She had always wanted to be a mom, but now that dream was dead. That was until God showed up!
God promised Abraham a child and God delivered. Sarah laughed in unbelief at first but then God did the impossible.
At times, it will seem that God didn’t keep His Word in your life. Never fear! God always keeps His Word. He will never let you down. Keep believing even though you feel like He is late.
God can do the impossible.
6. Abraham Taught Us Faith Can Empower Us To Obey In The Most Desperate Situations.
“By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.”
God told Abraham to do the unthinkable. He was to take the miracle son that God gave Him to a mountain and sacrifice him unto God. What??
God never intended Abraham to complete the task. He would make sure Isaac lived. Yet, God needed to test Abraham’s commitment. He would be the “earthly father” of God’s people, after all.
Abraham obeyed. His compliance was not blind faith. It was devoted faith.
God had explained to Abraham the Gospel plan. One day God would send His miracle Son to Earth. God would sacrifice His Son for the sins of the World. Then His Son would rise from the dead.
Abraham was told to act out the Gospel story. Abraham consented because He trusted God to raise Isaac from the dead. His faith in the coming Messiah proved His faith in God. Abraham was saved by faith.
“For what saith the Scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.”
You can trust God in desperate circumstances. Trust God and watch Him work.
7. Isaac Taught Us Faith Brings Future Blessings.
“By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.”
Faith looks to the future. Faith and hope travel together.
If you have faith in God, you can expect good things to come. When you lose faith, you lose the expectation of good.
8. Jacob Taught Us Faith Empowers Us To Bless Others When Facing Trials Ourselves.
“By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.”
Jacob was at the point of death, yet he wanted to bless his sons before he died.
Doubt causes us to focus on our self and our problems. Faith prompts us to look at others and the possibilities.
Live by faith, and you will bless those around you with words and deeds.
9. Joseph Taught Us Faith Looks Beyond This Life.
“By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.”
Before Joseph died, he reminded the children of Israel that God would deliver them, restoring them to the promised land. He told them to take His bones to bury them there.
Joseph’s entire life was a life of faith. His faith in God brought him safely through tremendous trials.
Perhaps, this is the sweetest token of His faith. He didn’t want to be buried in Egypt. He believed that God would deliver the people and wanted to go home.
Faith teaches us to look beyond this life.
There is a heaven, and there is a hell. Make sure that you reserve your home in Heaven by faith in Jesus Christ.
10. Moses Taught Us Faith Can Overcome The World.
“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. By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.”
Moses was a miracle child saved from death by his parent’s faith and the tender heart of an Egyptian princess. He grew up in the palace of the wealthiest and most powerful country on the planet. Moses had the best teachers and countless opportunities. He had every pleasure and comfort life had to offer.
Ultimately, by faith, He chose God over the world.
He became the greatest leader of men, other than Jesus Christ, in History. He led 2-3 million traveling Jews for 40 years with no technology.
Through faith, we can over come the world too. Faith is the victory!
1 John 5:4
“For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”
11. Rahab Taught Us Faith Can Change Lives For The Better.
“By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.”
Rahab was a harlot. Yes, that means what you think it means. She was a wicked woman who sold her body for gain. Yet, in a moment, she changed the direction of her life and legacy through faith.
Joshua chapter two relates how she helped the spies of Israel escape in exchange for the lives of her family.
Faith changed her life and her family’s destiny. Today, she is known for her faith rather than her old profession.
Faith can change your life for the better! Regardless of your past, a moment of sincere faith can alter your direction and change your destiny!
There are scores of examples of faith in the Bible. Seven more examples of faith are mentioned in Hebrews 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:”
What can their faith teach us?
The account of Gideon in Judges chapters 6-8. He is introduced as a weak and fearful man hiding and sneaking food to feed his family during a Midianite Invasion. But God saw him as a mighty man of valor. Gideon believed God and delivered Israel in spite of overwhelming odds.
Barak was a man called upon to fight against the King of Canaan, who had 900 chariots of iron and a large army. By faith, he defeated an overpowered foe with only 10,000 soldiers. You can read the account of Barak in Judges chapters 4 and 5.
Samson judged Isreal during a time of Philistine bondage. He was a thorn in the side of the Philistines his entire adult life. The Holy Spirit would come upon Him giving Samson supernatural strength. Samson was a man with serious flaws, but God still used Him. By faith, he was a one-man army killing thousands of the enemy. You can read his story in Judges chapters 13-16.
Jephtha is an interesting addition to the Hall of Faith. He was the bastard son of an Israelite who had been exiled that was called upon to deliver the people from the Ammonites. He was a hard man who made bad decisions. He even sacrificed his own daughter to keep a vow. Yet, the Bible is not putting a stamp of approval on every action. God commends His faith. It was faith in God that empowered and encouraged Jephtha to fight the battle. Faith can be exercised by any who will believe God. You can read the account of Jephtha in Judges chapters 11 and 12.
David’s storied life displays the mountains and valleys of the faith-life. He accomplished the impossible, lived through the unbearable, did the unthinkable, and trusted God through it all. The Book of Psalms gives us an intimate look into the heart of faith. You can read about David’s life in 1 2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles.
Samuel served God from birth. His example of service and piety from youth until death demonstrates the power of faith in everyday life. You can read about his life and ministry in 1 Samuel.
Time does not allow us to discuss the exploits of the prophets mentioned in Scripture. Take a moment to remember the accounts of Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and Daniel. They are representative of generations of men who lived by faith and spoke for God in a wicked world.
These examples of faith are powerful reminders of what God can do in your life!
There are examples of faith all around us if we take the time to notice.
WE CAN SEE MORE EXAMPLES OF FAITH IN:
- The BIBLE
- Human HISTORY
- Personal RELATIONSHIPS
Who did God use in your life to grow your faith?
The last verses in Hebrews chapter 11 teach us the power of faith modeled before us.
Examples of faith show us what faith can ACCOMPLISH!
“Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 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. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:”
Examples of faith show us what faith can ENDURE.
“And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: 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; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the Earth.”
Examples of faith show us what faith can CONTINUE.
“And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.”
When a past testimony effects change in us, God rewards both the one who left a testimony and the one who follows the pattern. Their ministries are made complete by our obedience.
God has given us many examples of faith. These testimonies of what faith did in others’ lives are powerful illustrations of what God can do through your faith. They convict us of our doubt and encourage us to trust God more.
Whose example of faith has changed you?
Will you strive to be an example of faith to others?
May we trust God more because of these examples of faith!