Hebrews 11:1-2 NASB
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval.
Things Hoped For
What do you hope for? Yes, as believers in Jesus Christ, we have the hope (the promise) of eternal life with God, and heaven as our eternal home. This kind of hope is not wishful thinking, though, but confident assurance based on God’s promises to us in his Word. We know that this world is not our final resting place, but that one day Jesus will return and he will take us to be with him forever, and there will be no more crying or pain or sin. Amen!
But, what do you hope for in this life, while you are still on the earth? What do you have faith in God for, based upon his Word, that you have not yet seen take place? But, that could take place during your lifetime on the earth? Perhaps you are praying for the salvation of a loved one, or for revival of the church, but your prayers have not yet been answered. Yet, you wait patiently for the day when they will be answered.
And, so you persevere in doing what God has called you to do, and you wait on God to do what he said he would do. And, you believe him that his Word will not return empty, but that it will accomplish what God desires and achieve the purpose for which He sent it. Your work for the Lord, done in faith, under his guidance and direction, will produce fruit for the kingdom of heaven and will result in lives changed by the power of God’s Spirit.
Hebrews 11:4 NASB
By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks.
We’ll Have Rivals
Cain and Abel were both sons of Adam and Eve, so they were brothers. Cain brought a sacrifice to God of the fruit of the ground, whereas Abel brought an offering to God of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And, God approved of Abel’s offering but not of Cain’s. So, Cain was jealous of his brother, and he was angry, and so he killed his brother Abel (Genesis 4).
When we follow Jesus Christ with our lives, and we walk in fellowship with him, by faith, and we forsake our lives of living for sin and self, and we serve our Lord with our lives, we will have enemies (rivals), even within our own households, within our own families, and even within the gatherings of the church.
For, those who are not walking with the Lord and who are living to please themselves, but who still want God’s approval, may find us an offense because our lives are a reminder to them that they are not doing what they ought to do, and that God is not pleased with them.
So, they may even be jealous of our relationships with Jesus Christ and they may even be angry with us because we are walking in righteousness, and so they may persecute us and mistreat us and even try to bring us down in order to ease their own consciences or in order to seek revenge. But, we are not to fear them or what they might do to us, but we are to keep on serving the Lord and walking by faith, and we will be blessed of God.
Hebrews 11:7 NASB
By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.
For the Salvation of Lives
There are many warnings in scripture given to God’s people, including within the New Testament, given to the church. And, we would do well to heed those warnings and to take them to heart. For, they are there for our good, to let us know that if we follow a certain course that there will be specific consequences. We need to know this so that we don’t go the wrong way, but so we go the right way.
Also, as ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which all believers in Jesus Christ are to be, we are to share those warnings with others for their good so that they don’t follow the wrong course and pay the consequences, but so they follow the right way and experience the blessings of God in their lives as a result of faith in Jesus Christ.
And, it is out of reverence for our Lord and for His Word that we share these warnings with others and we share what the Word of God teaches with regard to sin, judgment and salvation. We do this, too, for the salvation of human lives. And, we do this by faith, believing that God will accomplish his purposes through what he has called us to do, and that it will make a difference in people’s lives. Even though presently we may not see the results we would hope for, we continue, believing God for changed hearts and lives, knowing that He will do what he has promised.
Hebrews 11:8-10 NASB
By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
Not Knowing What
Sometimes God calls us to go places we have never been before, either to literal physical places or to unfamiliar circumstances. And, we may have no idea what is going to face us when we get there. But, we step out in faith, and we go, because we believe Him, because we trust Him, and because we love Him and we want to do what pleases him.
Where he leads us may provide for us no financial security or any kind of security which this world has to offer. In fact, what may be awaiting us is hardship, difficulties, more rejection, more pain and more sorrow. And, yet we go, because we know God is leading, and we know he is going to work this all out for good, and that He will change people’s hearts as a result of our faithfulness.
We are willing to leave all this world has to offer us behind in order to follow our Lord wherever he leads us, because this world is not our home, and because we have an eternal perspective, and our focus is on the kingdom of heaven and not on accumulating wealth and possessions.
Hebrews 11:13-16 NASB
All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.
A Better Place
There are no guarantees that we will see what we hoped for while we are still living, though. We may work for the Lord for many years and see little fruit for our labors, and it may be after we leave this earth that the harvest comes. Yet, we can be confident that God will use what he had us do for his purposes, for his glory, and for the salvation of human lives, whether we see the fruit of our labors in this life or not.
The thing of it is, if we are truly following the Lord, and we are working for him, in doing what he has called us to do, that should be reward enough. Just knowing that God called us, that he chose us, and that he is using us, even when we can’t see how, should bless our lives, and should give us peace and assurance that good will come from it all. And, thus we should continue to walk by faith, believing that all God has promised He will fulfill.
Always we should keep our focus on what is eternal, not on those things which are going to pass away. This is not to say that we should take no pleasure in anything of this world, for the Lord gave us food, music, nature, colors, taste, sight, hearing, and touch, etc., so that we can enjoy them. We can enjoy a symphony or a sunrise or sunset, or the beauty of nature, or a song or a poem or a drawing. But, these should not be our gods.
But, in all that we do, we should live our lives for the glory of God and for the advancement of his kingdom and the salvation of human lives, and this should be our primary focus. And, we should walk by faith and not by sight, doing what God has called us to do, even when what we hope for is not yet visible. For, this is faith. And, that faith will be rewarded.
Shine Jesus Shine
By Graham Kendrick
Shine, Jesus, shine
Fill this land with the Father’s glory
Blaze, Spirit, blaze, set our hearts on fire
Flow, river, flow
Flood the nations with grace and mercy
Send forth Your Word, Lord and let there be light…
Thursday, July 26, 2018 – Thank You, Jesus, for everything!