Please turn to Hebrews 11:8-19. Trusting in Jesus means a life of faith in which we base our whole hope in Him and on His promises. At the end of chapter ten, the author of Hebrews reminds this congregation that he knows that they are people of faith and that they believe in Jesus Christ. In chapter 11, he says to them, “Now let me show you what that looks like.” As a result, he uses some of the great heroes of the Old Testament to illustrate for us what the life of faith looks like. Specifically, in Hebrews 11:8-19, he shows us how Abraham and Sarah lived lives of faith. First, in verse 8, the author of Hebrews says that those who live a life of faith trust and obey God. Then, in verses 9-10, he explains that believers do not look for ultimate fulfillment in this world. Next, in verses 11-12, he says that those who live a life of faith believe God’s promises. Furthermore, in verses 13-16, he explains that saving faith alters our self-identity. Finally, in verses 17-19, the author of Hebrews says that believers trust God’s Word.   

I. By Faith, Abraham Trusted and Obeyed God. 

In Hebrews 11:8, the author of Hebrews says, “By faith, Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance.” It is important to recognize that Abraham does not just trust God, he also obeys God. In other words, God's effectual calling of Abraham resulted not only in Abraham's whole-hearted believe in God; it led to his obedience. When you trust God, you obey Him. And notice what Abraham is called to do here. At the very end of verse 8, the author says, “he went out, not knowing where he was going.” Now that is faith. That is real trust in God to respond to God's call in obedience having no idea where you are going. However, every Christian is called upon to do the same thing. One British theologian put it this way, “For the Christian, we are called to an unknown country with a well-known inhabitant.” So what Abraham did in leaving his family ancestral land in Ur of the Chaldeans and making his way to the land of promise is a picture of what every believer does. We trust in God, we make our great life decisions based upon His Word and call, and we go to “an unknown country and to a well-known inhabitant.”

II. By Faith, Abraham Did Not Look for Fulfillment Here. 

In Hebrews 11:9, the author of Hebrews says, “By faith, he went to live in the land of promise as in a foreign land living in tents.” Now observe the contrast in verse 10 when he says, “For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations.” So Abraham goes to the Promised Land but when he gets there he does not build a big city and live in it. He lives like a pilgrim in a tent even in the Promised Land. Why? Because this world was not Abraham’s home and it was not his final destination. Abraham was looking for a city that has foundations whose architect and builder is God. Believers live the life of faith not looking for our ultimate fulfillment here. The world cannot fulfill the promises that God has made to us; only God can. And that allows us to stand apart from the world and not put our hopes in the world. We can minister to the world knowing that the world cannot give us what we really need; only God can. God is the one who will fulfill His promises. Therefore, we are able to show Christian love to the world because we do not need the world to give us fulfillment. 

III. By Faith, Sarah Believed God’s Promises. 

In Hebrews 11:11-12, the author of Hebrews reminds us that God's promises to believers come about by faith. In verse 11, he says, “By faith, Sarah herself received power to conceive.” In other words, the author of Hebrews is saying that Sarah conceived by faith. She trusted that God was going to give her a son and from that son was going to come a multitude of worshipers of God that no one can number. Sarah had faith in God and thus received the power of God to found the posterity of Abraham, the line of promise that would lead all the way to our Lord the Messiah, Jesus Christ. By faith, God accomplished His purposes in this world. Thus, this is a classic passage illustrating how we live by faith and not by sight.

IV. By Faith, They Lived as Strangers and Exiles. 

In Hebrews 11:13-16, the author of Hebrews tell us that saving faith alters our self-identity. At the end of verse 13, he says, they “acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.” In other words, Abraham and Sarah understood that believing in God’s promise was going to make them strangers and aliens here. Their whole identity was shaped by their faith in the promise of God and their understanding of what that meant. Faith in God leads to a self-estimation that we are strangers and aliens here. And it is our very willingness to be strangers here that reflect the reality of God's grace in our hearts and assures us of future glory. We do not put our ultimate hope in this life and in this world. We understand that this world is not our home. As the Apostle Paul reminds us in Phil. 3:20, “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”  

V. By Faith, Abraham Trusted God’s Word. 

In Hebrews 11:17-19, the author of Hebrews explains that believers trust God's Word for good. By faith we can entrust anything to God. In verse 17, he says, “By faith, Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son.” In Genesis 22:5, Abraham says to his servants, “I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.” I can remember reading that verse as a boy and thinking, “Abraham must have known that God was going to provide that ram in the thicket bush.” However, the author of Hebrews corrects that line of thinking. He explains that Abraham believed that God could raise Isaac from the dead to fulfill His promise of making him “the father of a multitude of nations.” That is how much Abraham trusted God. That is what the life of faith looks like. As believers, we are also called to live a life of faith, trusting in God, just like Abraham and Sarah did. May God enable us all to walk by faith and to trust His Word and believe His promises.