HEBREWS-JESUS IS BETTER: Faith Irrespective of Circumstances
HEBREWS-JESUS IS BETTER Faith Irrespective of Circumstances Pastor John Weathersby Sunday August 26, 2018 Hebrews 11:30-40 We’re going to focus most heavily on the latter parts of the passage today verses 36-40, because we’ve naturally as Americans have had our minds pumped full of the first type of truth - but neglected the second type. These two truths provide balance, and without a proper faith balance we can begin to worship a God of our own making. The God of our making can be a) a God who gives me riches and a comfortable life or b) the God for whom I must live a suffering depraved life so that he can be happy with me. The Author-Pastor of Hebrews writes to these people in a balance that focuses on faith, and trusts God with the outcomes without regard to resulting circumstances. Outcomes don’t prove faith, continued faith does. So as we read through this passage we’ll find the balance of outcomes and faith across different people and stories and we’ll come to see that the object of faith is more important than outcomes of faith. Hebrews 11:30-40 (ESV) 30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. A military conquest delivered by God and abused by modern authors to tell you to walk in circles around things, totally missing the point of the story. Found in Joshua 6:1-27. 31 By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies. A huge showing of faith under pressure and understanding the spirit of the rule, as the great philosopher John Madden used to put it - when criticizing football officials. Found in Joshua 2-1-21. 32 And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— All great epics of battle and successful warriors / leaders. 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. How did these things happen? By Faith! BOOM - I’m ready, inspired like Tony Robbins, lets finish this night off walking on coals and conquer the world and get rich, by faith, right? 35 a) Women received back their dead by resurrection. BRING IT - lets raise some dead… but wait, there is more - don’t stop reading at Hebrews 11:35a. … Hebrews 11:35b 35 b) Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. But - I thought faith: Was what guaranteed me that my greatest days are ahead - now I agree my greatest days are a head and my future is better than my past - Benny is killing it there, but we disagree with where that happens? I say it’s a new heaven and new earth and has nothing to do with my prosperity here. Because here my prosperity can be taken a way in a moment, a wrong word or mess-up and that smokin’ job, is gone. One disaster and my possessions are underwater. Lets set Benny aside for a second and hear from Jesus: Matthew 6:19–21 (ESV) 19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Stick with that, church. Read that in the light of this second half of Hebrews! 35b-40 where you treasure is there your heart will be also, because: outcomes don’t prove faith, continued faith does. When people watch you live your life, and they’re watching, trust me, you live through trying times, times of stress and strain, difficult times, death/loss of people you love, poverty and financial strain, pressures to cheat at work/life, and by faith you follow God’s will - and not begrudgingly but willingly, by a faith that trusts that no matter what the outcomes are God remains good and is worthy of gain AND loss, when you can do that with a trusting faithful heart, God is glorified, in much and in little. Philippians 4:12–13 (ESV) 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Now that looks great in eyeblack, when he strengthens me to win a football game, but what about when he strengthens me to lose, to suffer, to be poor, do I have faith then? Am I willing to be on display as one suffering - to be brought low, to face hunger so that people will see God’s grace and mercy and His spirit alive in me for HIS glory, not mine? Because that’s what’s at stake, is God’s own glory in my faith. Lets keep reading this second portion of Hebrews 11: 36 Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— Way less motivating. Doesn’t make every day look like a Friday, does it? Doesn’t sound like promises on prosperity were delivered, were they? But what if these people spoke riches over their lives, what if they were following God’s will - isn’t he obligated to give them money? READ THE BOOK - God doesn’t say that! Here is how the writer wraps it up as he sticks balance between having much, having little and the faith of those found both scenarios and specifically of those who suffered: 38 of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. 39 And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40 since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect. What was better, future life in the Kingdom of God. We live Here and Now, as well as there and then when it comes to the Kingdom of God. Church when we gather together to encourage each other weekly, to offer our worship to God, and to celebrate Him - we’re in the kingdom of God on earth. When we leave here and live out our faith - we’re in the Kingdom of God. However when we’re found in Christ, people who’ve believed in God’s salvation by faith in Christ we learn that outcomes don’t prove faith, continued faith does. Lets be a Church who works to glorify God in all we do, in much and little, in basking and suffering - lets point to God’s grace in all things, and lets live the truth of knowing that outcomes don’t prove faith, continued faith does. As home groups, meet and discuss: • How do Jesus words in Matthew 6:19-21 provide color for Hebrews 11:35b-40? Outcomes Don’t Prove Faith, Continued Faith Does!