International Sunday School Lesson
For Sunday September 9, 2012
For Sunday September 9, 2012
Purpose: To affirm faith as trust in the presence and power of a God who overcomes our fear and sustains our hope
Scripture Text: Hebrews 11:1-3, 6 & Psalm 46:1-3, 8-11(CEB)
(1) Faith is the reality of what we hope for, the proof of what we don’t see. (2) The elders in the past were approved because they showed faith. (3) By faith we understand that the universe has been created by a word from God so that the visible came into existence from the invisible. (4) By faith Abel offered a better sacrifice to God than Cain, which showed that he was righteous, since God gave approval to him for his gift. Though he died, he’s still speaking through faith. (5) By faith Enoch was taken up so that he didn’t see death, andhe wasn’t found because God took him up.[a] He was given approval for having pleased God before he was taken up. 6 It’s impossible to please God without faith because the one who draws near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards people who try to find him. (6) It’s impossible to please God without faith because the one who draws near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards people who try to find him.
(1) God is our refuge and strength,
a help always near in times of great trouble.
(2) That’s why we won’t be afraid when the world falls apart,
when the mountains crumble into the center of the sea,
(3) when its waters roar and rage,
when the mountains shake because of its surging waves. Selah
Psalm 46: 8-11
(8) Come; see the LORD’s deeds,
what devastation he has imposed on the earth—
(9) bringing wars to an end in every corner of the world,
breaking the bow and shattering the spear,
burning chariots with fire.
(10) “That’s enough! Now know that I am God!
I am exalted among all nations; I am exalted throughout the world!
11 The LORD of heavenly forces is with us!
The God of Jacob is our place of safety. Selah
My Thoughts by Burgess Walter
So where does “FAITH” come from? How can we nurture it? The writer of Hebrews begins with creation. Faith begins with accepting God as the “uncaused cause” of everything that exists. God spoke the universe into existence out of nothing. If we cannot accept that, then we fail in our search for faith.
Without such faith it is impossible to please God, and God cannot reward you for something you do not have.
The writer of Hebrews is writing to Jewish Christians in the time of great persecution by Nero; many are discouraged and want to return to the old Jewish laws and traditions. The writer is encouraging them to not give up, but rather recall the example of those that had faced difficulty before, heroes that were remembered, beginning with Abel and goes all the way through the prophets.
The Psalm portion of our lesson points more to trust; the Psalmist seems to speak from experience about his relationship with God. His faith comes from a personal experience with God and of God's faithfulness.
The question that faces us is how we can substantiate something we cannot feel, touch, see, smell or taste. We accept something improvable as fact. We can begin with a creator God, but we also can experience God's grace, love, protection, mercy and love.
Many in the Gulf area have just gone through a terrible week; some will come out of it with a stronger faith and trust in God, even though they have been through a horrific ordeal. Sixty of those owe their lives to a father and son team that saved them from an almost certain death. Others have found refuge with friends and relatives or strangers that took them in.
They have escaped “the waters roar and rage” they have found "strength and refuge” in a time of great trouble. The Psalmist insist that is enough to know that God is the “Great I Am”
Our faith begins with an acceptance of God as the creator, and grows as our life experience brings a sense of comfort and assurance in our daily life.