Oct 31, 2021 | Categories: Greater.

GREATER > Week 20 – Hebrews 11:1-40 | Ryan Falls

Greater: Living in a city while
longing for the city

Hebrews 11:8-16 – Ryan Falls, Senior Pastor

As Christians, walking by faith shapes how we understand our unique role as we live in a city, and helps us to live with purpose as we long for our heavenly home

I. Walking by faith

By faith Abraham

–Hebrews 11:8

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. 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.

–Hebrews 11:1-3

  • Requires thinking

The assurance of things hoped for

–Hebrews 1:1

By faith we understand

–Hebrews 1:3

  • Is lived experience

The conviction of things not seen

–Hebrews 1:1

for we walk by faith, not by sight

–2 Cor. 5:7

II. Faith and the city

  • Our view of the city shapes how we relate to it
    • The reality of the city

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a placed that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.

–Hebrews 11:8

    • The potential of the city

By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.

–Hebrews 11:9-10

    • The promise to the city

By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.

–Hebrews 11:11-12

Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

–Genesis 12:1-3

  • Our identity in the city clarifies our role in it
    • Our identity: exiles (word here means “resident alien”)

These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.

–Hebrews 11:13

    • Our role: to seek the welfare (shalom) of our city

Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream, for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, declares the Lord.

–Jeremiah 29:4-9

III. The longing of faith

  • The longing for home

For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one.

–Hebrews 11:14-16

  • The way back home

Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.

–Hebrews 11:16


As Christians, walking by faith shapes how we understand our unique role as we live in a city, and helps us to live with purpose as we long for our heavenly home

Discussion Questions:

  • Where is home for you? If not the Seattle area, how is it different than here? What do you miss the most about it or what would you miss the most about Seattle?
  • What stood out to you about faith as it was discussed in the message?
  • How have you viewed cities in the past? How, if any, did this passage change the way you look at cities?
  • What does it look like to live out the words of Jeremiah 29:4-9 today?
  • Do you have any other takeaways or questions?