Seeing God Who is Invisible

SEEING HIM WHO IS INVISIBLE“By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible” (Heb. 11:27). The writer says that the God of Moses is the God who is invisible. Today people want to make the invisible God into a visible image. But if you make the invisible God into a visible image, you make your own god. You make your own object of affection. Once you make your own object of affection, you make your own idol. That’s what is happening today in Cebu every January with the Sinulog.

The emphasis of the writer is Moses’ faith. The writer already said that God is invisible. Thus, Moses could not have seen the invisible God physically. But Moses saw the invisible God, spiritually, by faith.

Moses saw God according to v. 6. Moses saw God believing that God exists. Moses saw God believing that God is the rewarder of his faith. This is how Moses saw God. Moses saw God through the eyes of faith.

Moses kept seeing God who is invisible. The verb “seeing” is present participle. Moses kept seeing God when he left Egypt. Moses kept on seeing God when he was unafraid of the king. These were difficult times for Moses. But he saw God in tribulations. Thus, seeing God is a continuing habit of spiritual perception. Seeing God is a constant practice of hearing God’s voice. It is a regular habit of obeying God’s will. It is a continuous habit of enduring while seeing God’s hand in everything—even in the most difficult situations in life.

God the Rewarder of Your Faith

maxresdefault“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Heb. 11:6). Has anyone seen God? No one has seen God. God is spirit. No one can see a spirit. But by faith, we believe that God is there. God exists.

The verb “rewards” is actually a noun in the Greek (misthapodotes), which means, “one who pays wages; rewarder, recompenser.” (Friberg) It pictures a paymaster who pays wages. God is the rewarder, the paymaster of those who seek Him. The writer does not say that God will reward you prosperity if you seek Him. He is not talking about your reward. Rather, he is talking about your rewarder—God Himself. God is the rewarder of your faith in Him.

Note that it is God Himself whom you must seek. Today people seek a god made of human hands. They seek a god made of wood, gold, or silver. But the writer is not talking of faith in an image made by man. The writer is talking about faith in the God who made man. You must seek the God who is invisible.

Note also that the tense of “draw” and “seek” is present tense. You must draw near to God continually. You must seek God constantly.

A single drawing near to God is not faith. A single seeking of God is not faith. You seek God once a month. You call that faith? You come to church and worship God once a year. You call that faith? Truth faith is coming to God and seeking God continuously.

If you keep coming and seeking God, God is your rewarder. God will reward you by responding to your faith in him. God will reward you by satisfying your faith. (James Mofatt)

Faith Sees the Invisible God

2ee837ede612fa7c39ad9dca31df90ee“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1, ESV). The word, “conviction” (elegchos) or “evidence” (NKJV) means “proof.” (Gingrich) Faith is the proof of things unseen. Faith is the evidence of things unseen. Faith is the confirmation of the existence of invisible things. You cannot see the invisible things—the things of God. But by faith, you can see the invisible.

The first proof of faith is how we understand the physical world. “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible” (Heb. 11:3). The word of God that created the world is invisible. But the universe is visible. The visible world was made by the invisible word of God. Faith is the evidence of things not seen.

Long before we planted a church in Bacolod, God has opened my eyes to see a church there. Do you know that the IBCP Board agreed to support the work in Bacolod through a text message? One day, I texted Pastor Manny Cabardo that we will soon start work in Bacolod. We have a pastor. We have prayed for years. We believe the Lord is guiding us to start the work there. Our budget is P8,000 monthly for the pastor. Then I texted him if IBCP can shoulder P4,000.00. After a few minutes, he texted back that the IBCP Board has committed to shoulder the P4,000.00.

I have seen the invisible in Bacolod City. Now, the Lord has opened my eyes to see the invisible in Toledo City. We shall plant a church there under GGCF by faith.

Faith is the Reality of Things Hoped For

Now the things hoped for are the promises of God. They are “the things promised” (v. 13)a29fee6cf0cf6ae67187bf55cca4ec1d or “what was promised” (v. 39).

The things hoped for, the promises of God, are yet future. The reality is in the present; but the things hoped for are in the future. Thus, faith is the present reality of future things. Faith does not produce this reality in the present. Rather, faith is the ground or reality of the future in the present.

How can faith be the reality of things hoped for? Faith is the present reality of future things because God is faithful. That is what the writer said about Sarah. “By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised” (Heb. 11:11). Sarah believed she will have a baby because she considered God faithful. God is true to His promises.

Hence, the basis of faith is the promises of God. It is not faith in faith, but faith in the promises of God. We trust God because God is faithful to His promises.

“Over in Burma, Judson was lying in a foul jail with 32 lbs. of chains on his ankles, his feet bound to a bamboo pole. A fellow prisoner said, “Dr. Judson, what about the prospect of the conversion of the heathen?,” with a sneer on his face.

His instant reply was, “The prospects are just as bright as the promises of God.”[1]

Today, there are over 1.6 million members in 4,929 churches of the Myanmar Baptist Convention–the result of the faith and hard work of Adoniram Judson.

By faith, we claim the reality of future things in the present—because God is faithful. People of faith in Hebrews 11 did not receive the things promised by God. But they looked forward to it and claimed it by faith. Faith is the reality of things yet unreceived. Faith is the actuality of the promises of God yet unrealized.

[1] Sermon Illustrations: Faith, Sermonillustrations.com. Cited Jan. 16, 2016. Online : http://www.sermonillustrations.com/a-z/f/faith.htm/

Faith Claims the Future in the Present

9e55028abd8c744089e384a3041d6a09“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1, ESV). The word, “assurance” or “substance” (NKJV) is from the Greek (hupostasis), “substantial nature, essence, reality” (Gingrich). Faith is the substance of things hoped for. Faith is the reality of things hoped for.

But there is another meaning of the word hupostasis. In the LXX (Greek Translation of the OT), the word is used of “ground,” “foundation,” or “support.” (Paul Ellingworth, NIGTC) Psalm 69:2 (LXX 68:3) reads—“I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold.” The Greek word for “foothold” is the same word, hupostasis. Thus, faith is the “foothold” of things hoped for. Ezekiel 26:11 reads, “He will kill your people with the sword, and your mighty pillars will fall to the ground.” The Greek for “pillars” is hupostasis. Thus, faith is the “pillar” of things hoped for.

There was a man of faith named George Mueller of London, England. He ran an orphanage of 300 children by faith.

“The children are dressed and ready for school. But there is no food for them to eat,” the housemother of the orphanage informed George Mueller. George asked her to take the 300 children into the dining room and have them sit at the tables. He thanked God for the food and waited. George knew God would provide food for the children as he always did. Within minutes, a baker knocked on the door. “Mr. Mueller,” he said, “last night I could not sleep. Somehow I knew that you would need bread this morning. I got up and baked three batches for you. I will bring it in.”

“Soon, there was another knock at the door. It was the milkman. His cart had broken down in front of the orphanage. The milk would spoil by the time the wheel was fixed. He asked George if he could use some free milk. George smiled as the milkman brought in ten large cans of milk. It was just enough for the 300 thirsty children.”[1]

Faith is the substance, the ground of things hoped for.

The “things hoped for” in v. 1 are not yet realized today. Since the things hoped for are unrealized, we need enduring faith. (D. Pentecost) This enduring faith makes the things hoped for a reality in the present.

[1] “George Mueller, Orphanages Built by Prayer,” Christianity.com. Cited January 16, 2016. Online: http://www.christianity.com/church/church-history/church-history-for-kids/george-mueller-orphanages-built-by-prayer-11634869.html.

The Attitudes of Enduring Faith

ENDURING-FAITHToday, I launch a sermon series on “the Attitudes of Enduring Faith” in Hebrews 11. By attitude, I mean the mind-set or outlook. I mean how a person of faith sees things in life.

Hebrews 3:14 reads, “For we share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.” We share in Christ, if indeed our faith endures to the end. That is what we need—enduring faith. We need enduring faith to endure to the end. But many Christians do not endure to the end. The mark of a true believer in Christ is endurance to the end. That is the Word of God for the New Year. To endure to the end requires enduring faith.

The writer explains about enduring faith in Hebrews 11. But before that, he encourages his readers to hold on to Christ in Hebrews 10. In Hebrews 10:22, we are to draw near to God by faith. In v. 23, we should not waver, knowing that God is faithful. In v. 24, we must stir up each other to love and good works. In v. 25, we must keep meeting together, encouraging one another. In vv. 26-31, the writer warns us of God’s judgment if we keep on sinning after knowing the truth. In Heb. vv. 35-36, he urges us to keep trusting God. In vv. 37-38, he assures us that in a little while, Christ shall come.

Finally in v. 39, he says that we are not those who shrink back from Christ. Rather, we are those who have faith. Then he explains about this faith in Hebrews 11.

I have identified fourteen attitudes of faith of these people of faith in Hebrews 11.

Jesus Robbed Death of Its Power to Rob Us of Life

imagesGod is the giver of life. But death is the great robber of life. Death has robbed us all of Joy. Death took Joy away from all of us. But Jesus came to rob death of its power to rob us of life. Jesus has already saved us from the power of death.

Hebrews 2:14 reads,

Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.”

Since we are flesh and blood, Jesus took on flesh and blood. He became flesh just like us, yet without sin. That is the reason for Christmas. Jesus was born in the flesh, so that He will die for our sins. Through His death, He has destroyed the Devil. Through His death, Jesus has destroyed the power of death. Through His death, Jesus delivers us from the fear of death.

Therefore, in Christ, we win over death. In Christ, we receive eternal life. Though we die, in Christ, we live forever. In Christ, we get back the things that death has robbed us. We get back our loved ones. We regain our joy.

Have you trusted Christ as your personal Lord and Savior? Have you trusted in the One who has broken the power of death by His death and resurrection?

Come to Him now! Call on the Lord and you will be saved.