July 26, 2003 – August 1, 2003
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1.
Suggested Reading: Faith and Works, 47.
“Faith is in no sense allied to presumption. Only he who has true faith is secure against presumption. For presumption is Satan’s counterfeit of faith. Faith claims God’s promises, and brings forth fruit in obedience. Presumption also claims the promises, but uses them as Satan did, to excuse transgression. Faith would have led our first parents to trust the love of God, and to obey His commands. Presumption led them to transgress His law, believing that His great love would save them from the consequence of their sin. It is not faith that claims the favor of Heaven without complying with the conditions on which mercy is to be granted. Genuine faith has its foundation in the promises and provisions of the Scriptures.” The Desire of Ages, 126.
1 What is faith? Hebrews 11:1.
note: “Often the Christian life is beset with dangers, and duty seems hard to perform. The imagination pictures impending ruin before, and bondage and death behind. Yet the voice of God speaks clearly, Go forward. Let us obey the command, even though our sight cannot penetrate the darkness. The obstacles that hinder our progress will never disappear before a halting, doubting spirit. Those who defer obedience till every uncertainty disappears, and there remains no risk of failure or defeat, will never obey. Faith looks beyond the difficulties, and lays hold of the unseen, even Omnipotence, therefore it cannot be baffled. Faith is the clasping of the hand of Christ in every emergency.” Gospel Workers, 262.
2 What did the elders obtain by faith? Hebrews 11:2.
note: “Bible history stays the fainting heart with the hope of God’s mercy. We need not despair when we see that others have struggled through discouragements like our own, have fallen into temptations even as we have done, and yet have recovered their ground and been blessed of God. The words of inspiration comfort and cheer the erring soul. Although the patriarchs and apostles were subject to human frailties, yet through faith they obtained a good report, fought their battles in the strength of the Lord, and conquered gloriously. Thus may we trust in the virtue of the atoning sacrifice and be overcomers in the name of Jesus.” Conflict and Courage, 368.
3 What is the first great thing we understand by faith? Hebrews 11:3.
note: “The deepest students of science are constrained to recognize in nature the working of infinite power. But to man’s unaided reason, nature’s teaching cannot but be contradictory and disappointing. Only in the light of revelation can it be read aright.” Education, 134.
4 Why is the introduction of Creation at the beginning of a study of faith appropriate? Psalm 33:6; 11 Peter 3:5.
note: “[Hebrews 11:3 quoted.] There is no other way by which we can know anything about creation; for reason cannot grasp the idea of something brought from nothing. So-called scientific speculation concerning the origin of things always proceeds on the basis of something already existing, from which other things were evolved. How the first matter came into existence science cannot tell. Therefore since reason cannot settle the method by which the worlds came into existence, the most reasonable thing to do is to accept the inspired declaration that it was by the word of God. And this lies at the very foundation of faith. If we believe that God created the universe from nothing, we can believe that he has power to make something to his own glory out of us, who are ‘less than nothing and vanity.’ [Isaiah 40:17.] And so, in a discourse upon faith, it is eminently fitting that the power of God as manifested in creation should be the starting point.” International Sabbath School Quarterly, Pacific Press Publishing Co., Oakland, California, February 15, 1890, 17, 18.
5 How did it come to pass that Abel offered a better sacrifice than Cain? Hebrews 11:4.
note: “Abel was determined to worship God according to the directions God had given. This displeased Cain. He thought that his own plans were best, and that the Lord would come to his terms. Cain in his offering did not acknowledge his dependence upon Christ. He thought that his father Adam had been treated harshly in being expelled from Eden. The idea of keeping that sin ever before the mind, and offering the blood of the slain lamb as a confession of entire dependence upon a power outside of himself, was torture to the high spirit of Cain. Being the eldest, he thought that Abel should follow his example. When Abel’s offering was accepted of God, the holy fire consuming the sacrifice, Cain’s anger was exceedingly great. The Lord condescended to explain matters to him; but he would not be reconciled to God, and he hated Abel because God showed him favor. He became so angry that he slew his brother.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 77, 78.
6 Which was first, Abel’s faith or his sacrifice? Hebrews 11:4. See also Genesis 4:4; Proverbs 3:9.
note: “Abel brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat, as God had commanded; and in full faith of the Messiah to come, and with humble reverence, he presented the offering.” The Story of Redemption, 53.
7 What was the nature of Abel’s righteousness? Romans 3:22.
note: “Genuine faith will be manifested in good works; for good works are the fruits of faith. As God works in the heart, and man surrenders his will to God, and cooperates with God, he works out in the life what God works in by the Holy Spirit, and there is harmony between the purpose of the heart and the practice of the life. . . .
“Those who are justified by faith must have a heart to keep the way of the Lord. It is an evidence that a man is not justified by faith when his works do not correspond to his profession. . . .
“Imputation of the righteousness of Christ comes through justifying faith, and is the justification for which Paul so earnestly contends. . . . [Romans 3:20–31 quoted.]” Selected Messages, Book 1, 397.
8 How was Enoch translated? Hebrews 11:5, first part.
note: “In the midst of a life of active labor, Enoch steadfastly maintained his communion with God. The greater and more pressing his labors, the more constant and earnest were his prayers. He continued to exclude himself at certain periods from all society. After remaining for a time among the people, laboring to benefit them by instruction and example, he would withdraw, to spend a season in solitude, hungering and thirsting for that divine knowledge which God alone can impart.
“Communing thus with God, Enoch came more and more to reflect the divine image. . . .
“His faith waxed stronger, his love became more ardent, with the lapse of centuries. To him prayer was as the breath of the soul. He lived in the atmosphere of heaven.” Gospel Workers, 52.
9 What witness did Enoch have before he was translated? Hebrews 11:5, last half.
note: “Enoch walked with God. He honored God in every affair of life. In his home and in his business he inquired, ‘Will this be acceptable to the Lord?’ And by remembering God and following His counsel, he was transformed in character, and became a godly man, whose ways pleased the Lord. We are exhorted to add to godliness, brotherly kindness. O how much we need to take this step, to add this quality to our characters! . . . We should have that love for others that Christ has had for us. A man is estimated at his true value by the Lord of heaven. If he is unkind in his earthly home, he is unfit for the heavenly home. If he will have his own way, no matter whom it grieves, he would not be content in heaven, unless he could rule there. The love of Christ must control our hearts. . . . Seek God with a broken and contrite spirit, and you will be melted with compassion toward your brethren. You will be prepared to add to brotherly kindness, charity, or love. . . .” My Life Today, 98.
10 How alone is it possible to please God? Hebrews 11:6.
note: “The fact that unbelief prevails, that iniquity is increasing all around us, should not cause our faith to grow dim or our courage to waver. . . . If we will but seek God with all our hearts, if we will work with that same determined zeal, and believe with that unyielding faith, the light of heaven will shine upon us, even as it shone upon the devoted Enoch.
“Oh that I could impress upon all the importance of exercising faith moment by moment, and hour by hour! We are to live the life of faith; for ‘without faith it is impossible to please God.’ Our spiritual strength depends upon our faith.” My Life Today, 8.
11 What led Noah to build the ark? Hebrews 11:7.
note: “In consequence of Adam’s transgression, sin was introduced into the fair world that God had created, and men and women became more and still more bold in disobeying His law. The Lord looked down upon the impenitent world, and decided that He must give transgressors an exhibition of His power. He caused Noah to know His purpose, and instructed him to warn the people while building an ark in which the obedient could find shelter until God’s indignation was overpast. . . .” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 504.
12 What did Noah receive besides the saving of his family? Hebrews 11:7, last part.
note: “In Noah’s day, the inhabitants of the old world laughed to scorn what they termed the superstitious fears and forebodings of the preacher of righteousness. He was denounced as a visionary character, a fanatic, an alarmist. ‘As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.’ [Luke 17:26.] Men will reject the solemn message of warning in our day as they did in Noah’s time. They will refer to those false teachers who have predicted the event and set the definite time, and will say that they have no more faith in our warning than in theirs. This is the attitude of the world today. Unbelief is wide-spread, and the preaching of Christ’s coming is mocked at and derided. This makes it all the more essential that those who believe present truth show their faith by their works. They should be sanctified through the truth which they profess to believe; for they are savors of life unto life, or of death unto death.” Review and Herald, October 20, 1885.