Jesus is Better: Hebrews 11
We live out our faith every day. We are aging and growing in maturity, but we want to keep that "childlike" faith that we had when we first gave our life to Jesus. Last week we learned that Chapter 10:19 was the "turning point" of this letter. It points out "how to live" which will run through the last third of Hebrews. In Chapter 10:38-39, the author is setting up Chapter 11. He talks about faith and he challenges the reader to "not shrink back from it".
Chapter 11:1 says that faith is "assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen. He doesn't say "THE faith". He is talking about the faith we live. In that day and time, an assurance would have been like a deed to a house. It was a certification that something was owned. Faith and belief are like two sides of a coin. We can have conviction inside us to know something is true that we can't see.
Verse 2 says, "For by it the people of old received their commendation." Commendation comes from the word for "martyr". God commended them for their faith. We have an opportunity to be commended for our faith (or not).
Verse 3 speaks of understanding. This shows that it is a faith built on understanding. There is knowledge. You don't have to check your brain at the door to be a follower of Christ. We know there is a Creator that designed all that we know and experience. The word "seen" means to perceive with intelligence. The universe was created by things we don't see. Creation came out of nothing but the spoken Word of God! In other words, There is a faith where, with reason, I believe in what God has promised in His Word. Faith allows us to treat the future as present and the invisible as seen.
Verse 6 - we draw near:
1. to His person - we believe He exists
2. to His promise - He rewards those who seek Him
Faith is dynamic and it takes us somewhere. It will express itself..."faith without works is dead." Faith is a belief and a trust that obeys. We see in the previous verses the actions of those who have gone before us...Noah BUILT, Jacob BLESSED, Abraham OFFERED, and Moses CHOSE.
God speaks, men are rattled, they obey, and God commends them.
We see the excitement of those mentioned in v 32-35a, but we also see the very hard challenges mentioned in v 35b-38. It may take more faith to endure, than it takes to escape. When life is just hard, sad, or tragic, does your faith "kick in"? Remember, don't shrink back. Keep going. Our greater reward is not in this life, but in heaven - which is an eternal greater reward!
In verse 40, the writer uses the word "perfect" which speaks to completion, or getting to the finish line. The men and women mentioned in this chapter all were looking forward. They didn't get to the finish line, but through Jesus, we can! We live in a culture that celebrates the spectacular, but it is the little things He asks us to do that will bring the commendation.
To Discuss Today:
1. Talk about the promises of God that you know. Write them down.
2. What is your faith like now? How does that compare to 5 years ago? 20 years ago? Remember, when we read the Word, our faith grows.
3. Where is your faith? What does your bank account say about that? Where your money flows is where your worship goes.