The Letter to the Hebrews Message 28
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
4. Witnesses to faith. Hebrews 11:8-
And last week we began to look at the –
5. Worth of Faith. Hebrews 11:32-40 Nothing in this world of matching value!
a. Powerful faith. Read Romans 11:32-34
1). Failings – they were imperfect men called by God.
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.
Confession and cry for God’s working in his life –
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.
Today we should begin by remembering the words of God through Peter –
2 Peter 3:17-18 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
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 making the wrong decisions these saints made! I want to have faith that guides me away from and overcomes failures and leads me on to the glory of God. We should look at the results of their –
2). Faith – they relied upon God to achieve His purpose. Hebrews 11:33,34
The Lord led Paul to name these men and put them in the forefront of millions of men and women standing as far as we can see in Heaven and, now across the world. He set forth examples so that we can understand how these faithful saints of God have been witnesses for Him. We see in our minds David ‘subduing kingdoms’, Samuel ‘demanding righteousness’, ‘the mouths of lions’ stopped as they move around Daniel, the three Hebrews – Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego as ‘the violence of the fire was quenched around them’ and unnamed multitudes who “Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.”
Paul explained through this statement that all of us can have a part in the wonderful hall of faith if we give ourselves over to God. 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?
We are also challenged to have –
b. Persistent faith. Romans 11:35-38
1). Extraordinary faith. 11:35a To believe that God will do the impossible!
“Women received their dead raised to life again…”
Elijah and the Widow of Zarephath (1 Kings 17), Elisha and Shunammite woman (2 Kings 4:34), Jesus and the Widow of Nain (Luke 7:15), Jesus and the widow of Nazareth (John 20:19; Acts 1:14 “…and the mother of Jesus…”)
The Hebrews who received this letter knew the historical accounts of these Paul referred to. They had personal knowledge and were familiar with books such as First and Second Maccabees recorded the history of the Jews as they battled for freedom in the centuries before the Lord was born. The Second book of Maccabees records the strength of a mother whose six sons were tortured before her by the order of Antiochus Epiphanes, the Syrian King. They were commanded to defile themselves by eating pork and deny God, but they refused – choosing to die horrible deaths. At the last the mother was tortured and killed.
Paul appealed to the Jews understanding that faith often faces trials, even unto death, at times torturous deaths, and encouraged them to remain strong in the Lord.
Which also is –
2). Enduring faith. 11:35b-38 To believe that God’s grace is sufficient for the need. Hold on to the “…substance of things hope for…”
To some victory was in life, for others it was in death. Their faith was the evidence of their victory.
1 Corinthians 15:51-58 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
It was a mystery, unknown to them, but their faith was the “…evidence of things not seen.”
Not only a Powerful faith, a Persistent faith, but also a –
c. Patient faith. Romans 11:39,40
The Old Testament saints waited upon the Lord, not losing faith because of persecution and death – they trusted in God that they will be with Him in the end of things –
Micah 7:7-9 Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me. Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD shall be a light unto me. I will bear the indignation of the LORD, because I have sinned against him, until he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me: he will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness.
God had given them the promises (the Covenants), the Law, The Prophets, but they were not complete until the fulfillment of the promise of the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, was completed.
These all trusted God, looking for His promise, the Messiah. Those reading this letter have so much more than they did, because we not only know the Saviour, we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit! They did not turn back and we should not turn back either! Why? Because God’s grace is sufficient for all things we might face in life!
Will we determine with the Apostle Paul –
Philippians 3:13-14 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
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.