By Faith You
The writer of Hebrews gets either tired or excited as he comes to the end of the great chapter. He comes to the end of this chapter and listing the names of several judges and kings, then lists situations where the people of God prevailed. There is not as much detail at the end of the chapter as there is in the beginning and the middle of the chapter. Maybe he is thinking, “I have proved my point about how these people lived, let’s get down to the nitty gritty of what this means for you and me.”
Perhaps you are feeling the same way, this is the thirteenth message is this particular series, more than I have ever done before. I have devoted a quarter of a year of Sundays on . We have had 12 messages on faith. We have talked about
A Definition of Faith
and today I am giving you a Baker’s Dozen as we close out this series and we talk about By Faith: You.
And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground. These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Notice this list of what happened when people had faith:
Lion’s mouths were shut
The fury of flames quenched
The edge of the sword escaped
Weakness becoming strength
Dead raised to life
Yet, some still were killed, others tortured and flogged. Some became destitute, persecuted and mistreated. The Bible says that
the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.
However, they were commended for their faith, but according to this passage, they didn’t receive that which was promised.
The trials and triumphs of faith still had better things to come
They were commended by God
They obtained a good report of all good
They were given dreams to dream about relating to the promised land, even though they didn’t obtain it
But for the believers, we see that better is coming.
God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
The French have a phrase creme de la creme. It means the creamiest of the cream. It is the best of the best.
What I see in this verse is this: All the previously named characters established their faith in hope of was to come. You and I as believers, have a promise in that God had something better coming. It is the fulfilled promise in Christ!
We get the best of the best, creme de la creme!
All the previously named characters established their faith in hope of was to come. You and I as believers, have a promise in that God had something better coming. It is the fulfilled promise in Christ!
It is no secret that football season is just a few days away. I love watching the game and having some snacks, but it is incredible watching the game at the stadium in the luxury suite. But only a few select prominent folks can watch the game from the luxury suite.
Faith points us to the future. It is for all believers, not just a few select in a luxury suite!
So what are we to do as we experience faith in Christ? This chapter has given us several characteristics from each of these characters and how they lived their lives, but they were willing, they all were wanting, and they all were working.
Each of these men and women were willing to trust the Lord with all their heart.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
You and I need to be willing to trust the Lord with all our heart and lean not on our own understanding. We need to be willing to acknowledge Him and allow Him to make our paths straight.
We need to be willing to know that something better is there for us when we place our faith in Christ.
We need to be willing to do whatever it takes!
Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Are you willing to allow your faith in Christ to grow and be and do?
Next, we need to be
I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,
Do you want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection?
For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.
I have discovered that as one gets to know the Lord, the more he or she wants to know the Lord.
The longer I serve Him the sweeter it grows!
The sweeter it grows, the more satisfied I become.
The more satisfied I become, the less likely I am to try to find satisfaction in things apart from Christ.
All of that starts with my want and desire. For my story of faith to become part of the continuing ever growing Hall of Faith, I have to want it!
What does your “want to” look like?
If you are willing and wanting, then you will be WORKING.
In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
What specifically do you and I need to work on with our faith?
Glad you asked!
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
We need to become “hinderless” and “UN-entangled.” It is time to get rid of the sin that keeps you from your perfect relationship with Jesus.
What do you do that messes with your relationship with Jesus? What is the weight that is holding you back?
Let’s get streamlined!
Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.
We also must also practice perseverance and run the race set out for us, not make up our own course.
Rosie Ruiz won the Boston Marathon in a near record time, just over two and half hours. But later her medal was revoked because she ran her own course. We have a course to run and we have to run that which God has given us to do, not our own.
Lastly, we mus FIX OUR EYES ON JESUS, THE AUTHOR, AND PERFECTER OF OUR FAITH.
Wherever you fix your eyes, the rest of you will follow.
This great passage we have been studying for 13 weeks is culminated in one verse
Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
One of the best ordinances we can practice to show that is Holy Communion or the Lord’s Supper.
For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
1 Corinthians 11:23-
Our Instructions are in the verses following:
1 Corinthians 11
Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup.