Hebrews 11:1-3 ESV
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.
When we put our trust in Jesus Christ, to be Lord and Savior of our lives, we are delivered from both the condemnation of and our slavery to sin, and we are set free to now walk in his righteousness and holiness. But, we are also given the hope of eternity with God in heaven, based on our faith in Christ, provided our faith endures to the end. And, by faith, we accept that what has been promised will be fulfilled, even though we do not yet see it.
(See: Jn. 8:31-32; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; 11:17-24; I Co 15:2; Col 1:21-23; II Tim 2:10-13; Heb. 3:6, 14-15; 2 Pet. 1:5-11; I Jn. 2:24-25)
Hebrews 11:4-7 ESV
By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks. By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.
Faith is not a feeling or an intellectual assent to something. It is not a mere acknowledgment that something exists. Faith puts action to what it says it believes. If we believe Jesus Christ died on that cross to free us from slavery to sin, which is what he did (1 Pet. 2:24), and to free us to now walk in his righteousness, then by faith we walk in that, in the power and working of God’s Spirit now living within us. Belief is not profession only. It puts feet to the faith professed, which then proves the faith to be genuine; of God.
Our faith is not only followed up by action, proving the faith to be genuine, but truth faith walks in obedience to the Lord, not saying we will never fail, but that our walk should match our talk. Our lifestyles should reflect the fact that we have been delivered from slavery to sin and that we are now walking by faith according to the Spirit, and no longer to please our flesh. For, by faith we now live to please our Lord.
(See: James; 1 Pet. 1:7; Rom. 8:8; 2 Co. 5:9; Gal. 6:8; Eph. 5:10; Col. 1:9-11; 1 Thess. 2:4; 1 Thess. 4:1; 2 Tim. 2:4; Heb. 13:6; & 1 Jn. 3:22)
Not Knowing Where
Hebrews 11:8-10 ESV
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.
Genuine faith in Jesus Christ not only results in action in obedience to our Lord, and to his will for our lives, but it does so, not always knowing the end results. It goes with God wherever he leads us, one day and one step at a time, trusting the Lord, even when everything in the natural may seem to be pointing the opposite direction; even when fears assail us, and Satan tempts us to give up and run away, because all seems hopeless. We believe God, we believe his Word and his many promises to us, and we walk by faith and not by sight, believing that God is working out all things for our good.
Hebrews 11:24-28 ESV
By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible. By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them.
Involved in our faith in Jesus Christ is choosing to follow our Lord in obedience to his will for our lives even if it means being rejected and persecuted by other humans. Our faith, as well, chooses to walk in obedience to the Lord, to please him with our lives, and to no longer be conformed to the ways of this sinful world (Rom. 12:1-2). Faith chooses God over the pleasures that sin affords, and it chooses to be different, unlike the world of sin, separated from worldliness, and set apart to God and to his service, which is what it means when it says we must be holy.
Hebrews 11:32-38 ESV
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— who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 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. Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 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— of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
When we follow our Lord in obedience, and live to please Him, by faith, and we live holy lives, separate from worldliness, and we do and say the things which Jesus did and said, we will be hated and persecuted for our faith, as Jesus was, and as were the saints of old, even by the religious.
They were not hated and persecuted because they immersed themselves in their cultures, or because they said what itching ears wanted to hear. They were not hated and mistreated and even tortured and killed for their faith because they merely professed to be Christians while they blended in with the world around them. When they made their professions of faith in Jesus Christ, they knew the cost. They knew it was a death sentence, and that they must deny self and take up their cross daily and follow Jesus Christ.
So, when we step out in faith, and we trust the Lord with our lives, and we walk by His Spirit, and no longer according to our flesh, and we do and say the things Jesus did and said, we should expect that the world and the worldly church will hate us, reject us, persecute and/or put us to death, or will attempt to silence us so that we stop confronting them with the “Holy One of Israel.” For…
Who say to the seers, “You must not see visions”; And to the prophets, “You must not prophesy to us what is right, Speak to us pleasant words, Prophesy illusions. Get out of the way, turn aside from the path, Let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel” (Is. 30:10-11 NASB).
But, even if we are told such as this, just like Jesus and the NT apostles, we must keep teaching what is truth, and we must keep telling people the way to salvation from sin and the hope of eternal life with God in heaven.
Bless the Lord oh my soul
Oh my soul
Worship His Holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I’ll worship Your Holy name
The sun comes up
It’s a new day dawning
It’s time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass
And whatever lies before me
Let me be singing
When the evening comes…
Tuesday, May 1, 2018, 2:30 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for these encouraging words. May we keep on singing, no matter what lies before us. Amen!