The Book of Hebrews – Believe God No Matter What

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“It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received God’s promises, was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, even though God had told him, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted.” Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again. And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son back from the dead.” Hebrews 11:17-19 Abraham is called the father of faith for a reason. He acted in faith when the circumstances seemed to contradict the promise. He reasoned that God would remain faithful to His promises so he made up his mind to follow God’s instructions no matter the cost. Abraham had been promised these things by God, first, God promised him that He would make him into a great nation. Secondly, God was going to bless Abraham. Next, He was going to make his name great. Lastly, all nations and future generations on earth would be blessed through him. God confirmed this promise many times to Abraham. The only thing required on his part was to believe what God had told him. Abraham did, this is why righteousness was credited to him. Abraham had a long history of believing God and seeing these promises fulfilled just as God said they would be, Abraham followed God’s instruction to sacrifice his one and only son of promise. He reasoned that God was able to raise him up from death because the covenant still had things waiting to be fulfilled. It stated that the entire world would be blessed through Abraham and his Seed, meaning the Christ, “God gave the promises to Abraham and his child. And notice that the Scripture doesn’t say “to his children,” as if […]

The Book of Hebrews – They Could See God’s Promise

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“All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. Obviously, people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” Hebrews 11:13-16 Faith has the ability to see the invisible, the impossible and the improbable. Faith takes what doesn’t make sense to the natural mind and becomes the substance that moves the invisible forward until it becomes reality. There are many things in God’s kingdom that require faith. The Word is full of promises that only become reality when mixed with faith and believed. All of these men and women previously mentioned in Hebrews 11 died in faith, waiting for their promises to come to pass. It does not mean that the promise of God did not happen in their lifetime. God always fulfills His promises. In Abraham’s lifetime, he only got the down payment of the promise. Isaac was the beginning of its fulfillment but what was promised reached so far into the future that Abraham died in faith looking forward to a time when all would be fulfilled. That takes faith, and faith is what pleases God. These examples of faith show that these great men and women understood they were temporary residents on earth. They looked forward to their true home in heaven with God. They greeted the reality of their promises from a […]

The Book of Hebrews – Have Faith when it Looks Impossible

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“It was by faith that even Sarah was able to have a child, though she was barren and was too old. She believed that God would keep his promise.  And so, a whole nation came from this one man who was as good as dead—a nation with so many people that, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore, there is no way to count them.” Hebrews 11:11-12 It would be easy to become discouraged and hopeless in a situation like this. Abraham and Sarah waited for years hoping to have a child only to grow old without an heir. The possibility of reproduction gone with each passing year. The history of trying to conceive over and over without success would be more than enough to dash any hope for the future. Then the Lord appeared to Abraham telling him at the same time next year Sarah would have a son. Sarah laughed as she overheard the conversation but the Lord replied to her, “Is anything too hard for the LORD? I will return to you at the appointed time next year and Sarah will have a son.” Confirming the Word, he originally gave Abraham that through him he would be the father of many nations. Faced with a decision to believe God for the impossible, both Abraham and Sarah took the steps of faith required to conceive. Because of faith Sarah received the physical power to get pregnant although she was long past the ability to do so. The key lies in the fact that she considered God faithful who had promised a son. She chose not to consider the circumstances surrounding the situation only the guarantor of the promise. When circumstances look impossible, that is the time that we need faith in God. That […]

The Book of Hebrews – Abraham Left Everything

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“It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going.  And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith—for he was like a foreigner, living in tents. And so, did Isaac and Jacob, who inherited the same promise.  Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God.” Hebrews 11:8-10 Abraham left everything to obey God. Abraham did not know even where he was going. He only knew that God told him to leave his home and to go where God showed him. Even when he reached the place that God told him to go, he lived there as a foreigner. Living in a tent. Today what if God told you to leave your home and your family? To travel to a country that you knew nothing about. You did not know anyone. Would you leave it all? Abraham had faith. He had faith that no matter where he was God would take care of him. We are too attached to the world and the things of the world. We must realize that we are only foreigners in this world. We have a better place that we are going. We are going to spent eternity in heaven with Jesus. The older I get the less the world means to me. I have too much stuff. We are in the process of getting rid of some of our stuff and it is very freeing to have less stuff. I cannot take any of this worldly stuff with me when I die. If we are going to truly follow God, things of this […]

The Book of Hebrews – Noah was Obedient

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“It was by faith that Noah built a large boat to save his family from the flood. He obeyed God, who warned him about things that had never happened before. By his faith Noah condemned the rest of the world, and he received the righteousness that comes by faith.” Hebrews 11:7 God told Noah to build an ark. I can hear Noah now “An ark, we don’t even have any water that is large enough to float an ark. We have never had rain. Are you sure God you want an ark? Maybe I could just do something else that is less crazy. What are the people going to think of me when I start this project in my front yard? I don’t want people to think I have lost my mind.” Have you ever had this discussion with God? I have many times. Over thirty years ago God called me to the ministry. At the time God and I had many discussions about this call. I felt that God made a mistake and to a point I still feel that way. I have been obedient and God has blessed me with such a peace that passes all understanding. God is still calling me to be obedient. Noah was obedient and he was considered righteous. “But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.” (1 Samuel 15:22) More than anything else God wants us to be obedient to His voice and His calling. “If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully keep all his commands that I am giving you today, the Lord your God will set you high above […]

The book of Hebrews – He Pleased God

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“It was by faith that Enoch was taken up to heaven without dying— “he disappeared, because God took him.” For before he was taken up, he was known as a person who pleased God. And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.” Hebrews 11:5-6 Enoch pleased God. “When Enoch was 65 years old, he became the father of Methuselah. After the birth of Methuselah, Enoch lived in close fellowship with God for another 300 years, and he had other sons and daughters. Enoch lived 365 years, walking in close fellowship with God. Then one day he disappeared, because God took him.” (Genesis 5:21-24) What a testimony. Enoch walked in close fellowship with God and because of this he never tasted death. God just took him home. For 365 years Enoch had an intimate relationship with God. This means that they enjoyed a fellowship that pleased and satisfied both God and man. From this relationship, Enoch for all time, has this testimony given by God that he pleased him. What marvelous faith Enoch had. The amazing thing that we can take away is that through Jesus, we like Enoch, experienced translation from death at the moment of salvation and were forever united with God. This of course takes place on a spiritual level; we are moved from the kingdom of darkness under the shadow of death and into the kingdom of Jesus, given eternal life. This comes by faith and just as Enoch received a testimony that he pleased God, we too, by faith can obtain that very same report. There is a great lesson to be learned from Enoch. The faith of Enoch made it into the Faith […]

The Book of Hebrews – Sacrifice of Faith

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“It was by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God than Cain did. Abel’s offering gave evidence that he was a righteous man, and God showed his approval of his gifts. Although Abel is long dead, he still speaks to us by his example of faith.” Hebrews 11:4 By reading the account of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4, it is easy to be confused about why Abel’s sacrifice was accepted and Cain’s was not. However, this passage in Hebrews clarifies it, telling us that Abel offered his sacrifice in faith, Cain on the other hand did not. The result is that God commended Abel as a righteous man and accepted his offering. To understand this, we must first look back at Genesis 4. Although not much detail is given about the instructions God gave to them when bringing their sacrifices, we see that Cain brought the fruit of the ground to God and Abel brought an animal sacrifice. God looked favorably on Abel’s sacrifice. When Cain’s was rejected God said to him, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it” (Genesis 4:6-7). The first thing we see is that Cain did not do what was right, which is why he was rejected.  Cain approached God in self-righteousness and on that basis, we are never accepted. Isaiah tells us that all of our righteous acts are as filthy rags. All of the things we do to be acceptable to God are as soiled dirty rags. This is why we are never accepted when we approach Him in this manner. Abel, […]

The Book of Hebrews – Assurance

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“Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation. By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.” Hebrews 11:1-3 Faith is the assurance that God has everything under control. Assurance is the confidence that God will do what He promises. Divine assurance is when we lift our vision to the I AM of God and see the God of endless impossibilities rather than the physical impossibilities. It’s the peace that reminds us that no matter what the circumstances, all things work together for our good. If you have to the best of your knowledge received Jesus Christ, God’s Son, as your own Savior, you have become a child of God and you have the assurance of your salvation. You have the assurance that God will answer your prayers. Sometimes God does not answer our prayers the way we want, but He answers them with what is best for us. We can have the assurance that our sins are forgiven. God has cleaned our record and He does not remember them anymore. We can have the assurance that we are victorious. By the world standards it may not look like victory, but we are always victorious because of our faith in God. To me one of the most important assurances is the assurance of guidance. Knowing that if we trust God, He will guide us in the right path. I think often of Robert Frost’s poem two roads. “And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet […]

The Book of Hebrews – Trusting God

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“So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised. “For in just a little while, the Coming One will come and not delay. And my righteous ones will live by faith. But I will take no pleasure in anyone who turns away.” But we are not like those who turn away from God to their own destruction. We are the faithful ones, whose souls will be saved.” Hebrews 10:35-39 I trust God. I trust him with my life. The day God saved me I started trusting God. When I started walking with God, I did not know where it was going to lead but I knew that no matter where He was going to lead me it was the right direction. We are starting into my favorite part of Hebrews; the section on faith. We cannot walk with God unless we have faith. I stand in amazement at all the things that God has done in my life. We first come to God by faith. We place faith in what Jesus did for us to bring us into fellowship with God. Colossians tells us that in the same way we received Christ we are to continue living in Him (Colossians 2:6). We received Christ by faith so it makes sense that all of our lives we are to continue in faith believing God in all things.  We learn an important truth in this passage, through faith we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed throughout life, instead we are of those who believe and rise to any occasion because of what God is […]

The Book of Hebrews – Persecution

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“Think back on those early days when you first learned about Christ. Remember how you remained faithful even though it meant terrible suffering. Sometimes you were exposed to public ridicule and were beaten, and sometimes you helped others who were suffering the same things.  You suffered along with those who were thrown into jail, and when all you owned was taken from you, you accepted it with joy. You knew there were better things waiting for you that will last forever.” Hebrews 10:32-34 Jesus said in Mark 4 that persecution will come after someone receives the Word of God, “But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word.” (Mark 4:17) The intent is to choke the seed from taking root and growing. If the seed can be snuffed out in the early stages, then no crop will grow and flourish as a result. However, Jesus also said in the Parable of the Sower of the Seed that when the Word is understood, taking root, it will grow and the yield is thirty, sixty, one hundred times what was sown. “And the seed that fell on good soil represents those who hear and accept God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” (Mark 4:20) Satan will try anything to keep God’s Word from growing and taking root in the new believer’s life. Once the truth of God’s Word is rooted in your life then persecution has a reverse effect. We can see this from our example of the early church. They were publicly exposed to insults and abuse. They were mistreated, laughed at and even killed. They were stripped of their […]