Seeing is believing

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					Many people live by the principle… seeing is believing. And they will not believe in anything they cannot see. With the result they laugh at Christians like me who firmly believe in: • • • • A God they cannot see A heaven and hell they cannot see Angels they cannot see Etc, etc.

But as we saw in this last clip (and some of the others) sometimes what we see can deceive us into believing what is wrong. “Seeing is believing” is certainly a good principle… but it is a limited principle and we can never live only by that principle. If that were true I could never believe you when you say that you can’t come and visit me as planned because you have a headache! I can’t see that and so don’t believe it. I could never really believe you when you say that you feel this or that way. I can’t see it and you may just be making it up (including your facial expressions of emotion). And there are other instances of where “seeing is believing” may get us in to trouble. [Story of train. You know the explanation… what about those on the train who didn’t?] And that story raises an important point: often we need some or other explanation to go together with what we see to make sure that we have the correct belief. More often than you may imagine seeing alone (because it is very subjective) may get you an incorrect belief. [Police – accidents different reports of the same accident and believe different things] The main reason why Christians believe things we can’t see is because the Bible presents that as a valid way to believe. You can believe in things you haven’t seen if someone very reliable who has seen tells you about them. We believe in what we can’t see because God has told us about them, and He is very reliable. Turn with me to Hebrews 11: 1 – 2. Faith is defined in these verses. Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. But why would anyone in their right minds be sure of something they had not seen? Because God had told them and so they believed. That is the case with what is recorded in the rest of Hebrews 11. Here we have historical accounts of this in action. So… 3. Why? Because God communicated with Moses telling Him what had happened and so Moses believed it and recorded it without having seen it and so do we.

We believe because God said it. And He was there and has not yet been proven unreliable in what He has said. 7. (Evan almighty) Because God said a flood was coming and so Noah believed because God had said it. 8 - 10. Abraham went (Promised Land) because he met God trusted Him and went… not seeing. And actually God had told Him about a promised land not of this world. And so that is why he lived like that. See 11: 13 – 16 heaven (Christ) true of all these people. 11 - 12. (God had said… He was trustworthy and so Abraham believed even though it hadn’t happened yet) 17 – 19. (God had said, He is reliable, so Abraham believed Him) 24 – 26. (God had said, so he believed even though he hadn’t seen it yet… rather suffer than miss out on the blessing God had promised… Christ!) 32 – 40 (Radical faith, believing even though none received, died believing – looking forward to heaven and Christ! In some way!) And we have received what they were looking for – Christ! And we like them have faith in the heavenly city. 1 Peter 4: 12 – 16. Why because God has said it! This is faith that actually pleases God. And it a belief so strong that to see it in action is to believe in believing without seeing! People were willing to suffer and die for it! They were willing to do whatever (even if people thought they were mad) because God had said so. And that gets rid of the idea that they were just wondering whether it was true. I had great faith that South Africa would win the 1995 rugby world cup… how it would end [was watching the video of rugby] And that is how the people of Hebrews felt… how Christians feel… they know how it is going to end. But not because they were seeing it on a video but because God has told them and it was recorded in this book (as good as), and he is trustworthy, so we believe without seeing. Seeing is believing? Helpful, but there is much that we need to believe before we see… because God has said so. Not satisfying? Don’t have faith, yet. Let’s pray that God gives it to you… because actually it is a gift.

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