December 15, 2005
Read Hebrews 11
Worthy fruits of faith, patience, godliness; warning against disobedience; service well-pleasing to God
The history of the people of God confirms that some endured hostile circumstances and suffering, yet remained faithful and accomplished His purposes for their lives. In the "Heroes of Faith Hall of Fame" (Hebrews 11:1-38), we are given a review of some of them. By faith Abraham, when he was tried (tested), offered up Isaac . . . Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure. . . . By faith Moses . . . refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt (11:17-26). The Old Testament men and women listed in this chapter give us not so much a definition of what faith is, but a description of what faith does. They chose to obey God and to live godly lives in submission to His will, regardless of the outcome.
This reminds us of how much more our Savior has made available to us by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the full knowledge of the will of God through His written Word. Surely, we too can lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and . . . run with patience (endurance) the race that is set before us (12:1). The runners who win the race of life are looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher (Perfecter) of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising (thinking little of) the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God (12:2). The Christian life demands self-denial, discipline, obedience, and wholehearted love for God and His Word. These characteristics distinguish the Christian from the self-indulgence practiced by the world. We must decide for ourselves, by a prayerful reading of the Scriptures and self-examination, if there are worldly hindrances to our spiritual lives that need to be eliminated. Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? (II Corinthians 13:5). Hell is horrifying and without escape.
The race of which Paul writes is a life of faithfulness and obedience. He (Jesus) said to them all, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me (Luke 9:23).
For Hebrews 11:18: See Genesis 21:12. Hebrews 12:5-6: See Proverbs 3:11-12. Hebrews 12:12: See Isaiah 35:3. Hebrews 12:26: See Haggai 2:6. Hebrews 13:5: See Joshua 1:5; also Deuteronomy 31:8. Hebrews 13:6: See Psalm 118:6.
11:29 assaying = attempting; 13:9 divers = various.
Pray for The International Shortwave Radio Broadcast in honor of Charles & Share Turner · Staff: Karen Hawkins · Government Officials: Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco (LA) and Gov. Mark Warner (VA) · Country: Benin (6 million) in western Africa · Major languages: French and tribal languages · Some hostility toward Christians · 59% animism and voodoo; 17% Muslim; 16% Roman Catholic; 3% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Praise the Lord; our God is the Mighty God (Psalm 50:1).
Memory Verse for the Week: 1 Peter 1:23