Letter to the Hebrews Message Twenty Seven
We have learned of Paul’s –
III. Exhortation to believers 10:18—13:17 He began with an –
A. Exhortation to Faithfulness. Hebrews 10:18-39
We discovered that if we are to understand our relationship and life with God, we need to understand the meaning of faith. Paul recognized this need and in chapter eleven he began by giving an –
B. Explanation of faith. Hebrews 11:1-3
So, what is faith?
1. A Promise. Hebrews 11:1 “Substance of things hoped for” (Promise, Title deed)
2. A Presentation. “Evidence of things not seen.”
3. A Proof. Hebrews 11:2,3 The evidence presented by “…things that are seen were not made of things which do appear”
C. Examples of faithfulness. Hebrews 11:4-40
We looked at the –
1. Worship in faith – Able. Hebrews 11:4 “…offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice…God testifying of his gifts…”
2. Walk in faith – Enoch. Hebrews 11:5
3. Work in faith – Noah. Hebrews 11:7
This morning we turn to the truth that helped the Hebrew believers and will help us, the Title Deed given by God, executed by Jesus, written in His blood, and notarized by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13 “…ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise…”).
4. Witnesses to faith. Hebrews 11:8-31 They were –
a. Committed to follow God. 11:8-16 Did not turn back! They were –
b. Confident in God. 11:17-22 Trusting in the trials.
They were confident in the –
c. Courage of God 11:23-31
And today we look at the –
5. Worth of Faith. Hebrews 11:32-40 Nothing in this world of matching value!
The strength of faith is evident in the lives of believers. The recipients of this letter had already faced persecution for their testimony for the Lord. Paul encouraged them in their faith. Trouble will continue but the Lord is faithful to bring us through to victory over trials and troubles.
Isaiah 41:10 “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”
Faith prepares us for both life and death, blessings and tribulation.
a. Powerful faith. Read Romans 11:32-34
1). Failings – they were imperfect men called by God.
As we walk down this hall of faith we notice that each portrait is of a man who is known for his faults as well as his faith, some more than others, but all had failures that we can identify with. It may seem a strange way to begin the study of powerful faith, but we should realize that they stood alone before God and answered for their sin as well as were rewarded for their successes. We will stand before God facing the consequences of our actions –
2 Corinthians 5:10-11 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.
These saints did not escape the consequences of their sins. We should learn from them and seek to be strong in the Word of the Lord and in faith. Do we, this morning, see our reflection in them?
a). Gideon failed to understand that God had set His name among the people at the Tabernacle and His priest in the lineage of Levi. The Tabernacle along with the Ark of God had been set up in Shiloh by Joshua and remained until the early years of Samuel. Worship in Shiloh seemed to decline as we find no mention of Israel seeking God’s leadership at the Tabernacle. We know there were some faithful as we have the record of Samuel’s parents worshipping in Shiloh each year and some others of the Nation of Israel continued to offer there until the actions of the ungodly priest turned them away. Because of the decline of integrity among the priest and the inter-tribal conflicts, Gideon seems to have decided to worship God at home instead of at the Tabernacle. He asked the people to help him to create an ephod, the garment to be worn by the priest. Does this sound familiar? People are constantly inventing alternatives to the church, failing to recognize that God has spoken “I will build my church…”.
b). Barak failed to accept the responsibility to lead when the country needed him, insisting that Deborah accompany him to the place of the battle. She told him that he was given up the victory over Sisera to a woman – a housewife, Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite, from the lineage of Abraham and Ketura. Jael showed how much one woman could accomplish with just a hammer and a nail! Judges 4
c). Samson was motivated by lust, surrendering to the passions of the flesh and his contempt for others. Samson flirted with the world, moving almost effortlessly between his dedication as a Nazarite, separated unto the Lord, and his desire to fulfill the lust of his flesh.
d). Jephthah made his foolish vow to God trying to improve on his position with the Lord when God had already promised him the victory over the enemy by empowering him by God’s Spirit. Yet he vowed to sacrifice ‘whatsoever’ came out to meet him upon his return from the battle. Judges 11:29-31
e). David committed adultery with Bathsheba, murdered her husband, refused to accept responsibility to correct his own children, and determined to take a census of the people against the express commands of God.
f). Samuel grew weary of the work God gave him and placed his sons in positions they were not qualified for setting Israel up to demand a king of their own choosing, not waiting on the Lord.
These are men whose failures identified their humanity, whose repentance identified their humility, and whose faith identified God working in their lives – redeeming them, rebuking them, reproving them, and restoring them. David revealed the bitterness brought forth by the chastening hand of God when he cried –
Psalm 51:1-3 To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bath-sheba. Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.
Psalm 51:9-13 Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.
We must remember the words of God through Paul to the church in Rome –
Romans 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
God uses imperfect men, but do not settle for imperfection, saying “this is just who I am”.
We should say I want the Lord to warn me of sin, to guide me in righteousness, and to protect me from the mistake these saints have made! Have faith that overcomes failures!
2). Faith – they relied upon God to achieve His purpose.
God used these men to accomplish His purposes in establishing His nation and God will use us to establish His church!
Are you willing to be a part of accomplishing His will?
Are you saved? You may say today, “I need to clean up my life first”. If you could clean up your life and satisfy the righteousness of God in doing so, Jesus would not have died for us!
Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Turn to Him today!