TWO CHOICES, TWO VICTIMS, TWO DESTINATIONS

The past two weeks have reminded us of the uncertainty of life, regardless of who we are or where we might chose to be at any particular moment in our daily activities. On Sunday morning, September 24, a lone gunman confronted members of the Burnett Chapel church of Christ near Nashville, Tennessee, evidently while the brethren were in the process of dismissing services that morning. Before his rampage was stopped by one of the members, he succeeded in killing one person on the church parking lot and inflicted injury on another half dozen inside the church building. One week and 12 hours later, another crazed gunman rained down bullets from his 32nd floor hotel window overlooking an open air concert in Las Vegas, Nevada. Latest report is that 59 have now died from the rampage of a man who, for whatever reason, decided that he would take it upon himself to destroy the innocent lives of those within range of his insanity. The names of those two men do not deserve to be mentioned. Their actions bespeak an evil within that causes us to scratch our heads in bewilderment, and ask, “Why?” And then we listen in vain for an answer! Speaking of those whose lives were snuffed out at the concert, one reporter echoed the popular refrain, “They were in the wrong place at the wrong time!”

Two choices, separated by seven days and twelve hours; choices that placed men and women in situations that ultimately led to the same outcome. There is no way we can judge the hearts of those who were killed by either one of those gunmen. Nor is it within our power to know the spiritual condition of any of any of them. But there is something significant in the choices every one of them made on the Sunday morning of their death. While at least one we know of chose to spend her Sunday in worship to God, thousands in that crowd in Las Vegas chose to attend a country and western concert. There may have been some in that open air theater who had attended a worship service that morning; perhaps some who were members of the Lord’s church, anxious to bow in praise to God prior to engaging in the activities of the evening. Still, the two choices represented by the two activities, both of which were separated by seven days and several hundred miles, is a stark reminder that the choices we make can, and often do, make a difference.

The victims of those two shooting sprees also represent two classes of humanity, separated spiritually in this life, and eternally in the life to come. Even if we grant that at least some of those in Las Vegas might have been faithful members of the Lord’s church, that does not lessen the fact that so many of those who suffered at the hands of the gunman in that ‘city of lights’ were simply not ready to meet their maker that night. Therein is the real tragedy. Not that so many died at the hands of a crazed killer, but that all too many died unprepared to meet their Master. I would not lessen the horrible nature of any of those killings, whether in Tennessee, Las Vegas, or a thousand other towns and hamlets in our country, or the world for that matter. In one instant, each of those victims was thrust into eternity; no warning, no time to prepare; only the twinkling of an eye. Dr. Keith Ablow, columnist for Foxnews, stated it well: “No one is guaranteed another day. Not even another hour. Not a minute. We simply don’t know how many breaths we have left. And what’s more, we don’t know how many breaths those we cherish have left, including even those for whom we would readily die” (Keith Ablow, Foxnews Opinion page).

Finally, there are two destinations represented by the two tragedies of which we speak. In one instant, those precious souls were cast into the night of eternity to await the judgment. Forever gone are the opportunities to hear the gospel. There will be no second chance; no possibility to reverse the destination to which they have now committed their souls. I find myself asking, “Who will be next?” I do not consider myself a pessimist, but I see nothing on the horizon that would suggest these two tragedies will be the last. A nation cannot cast God out of the fiber of its very being and expect God to bless them as before. And so I find myself asking, “Who will be next?” But in the final analysis, it makes no difference whether another crazed killer will end the life of any single one of the seven billion souls still living, or whether it will be by natural death, for “it is appointed unto men once to die, and after that cometh the judgment” (Heb. 9:27). Perhaps we need to remind ourselves of this reality, and then do all we can to help prepare men for that inevitable moment when they enter into eternity. It is to that end that we strive; it is to that end that we serve our Savior.

~~~~~By Tom Wacaster

“They couldn’t hit an elephant at this dist . . .”

These were the last words spoken by General John Sedgwick as he surveyed the enemy troops during the Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse. In mid-word, a Rebel bullet found its mark and so ended a great military career. The general’s statue stands today near the parade grounds at West Point, an enduring testimonial to Confederate marksmanship!

Stories like this should remind us just how silly – and dangerous – our words can be. Speech reveals what’s in our hearts. Sedgwick’s comments evinced great confidence in the safety and security of his troops, when in reality, he was merely seconds from the Grim Reaper.

Our own words are no less revealing. Whether statements are casual, careless, or deliberate, our choice of terms and voice inflection belie what might otherwise remain hidden.

Consider some of our “stupid” words:

“I was just too busy to do my Bible lesson.” In truth we’re too wedded to the world to divorce ourselves from carnal concerns long enough to cultivate spiritual growth.

“It’s the church’s job to teach my children the Bible.” Then what, pray tell, is your job, Dad?

“I don’t know why the preacher can’t quit on time?” Perhaps it’s because there is so much you need to hear.

“The Bible doesn’t say I have to go to church on Sunday night.” The Bible doesn’t say you have to go to heaven either, but why would you want to miss it?

– by Steve Dewhurst

Your Fragile Eardrum

          Haven’t you heard by now that you shouldn’t stick anything larger than your elbow into your ear? Have you obeyed that or not? The eardrum is only three membranes thick. It is about as thin as a piece of paper. The middle lining is fibrous which makes it a little more resilient.

–Paul Holland

 

          The primary target of God is our ears. The verb “hear” is used 441 times in the Bible (ESV). One of the first directives God gave the Israelites at Mount Sinai was: “Behold, I am coming to you in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and may also believe you forever.” When Moses told the words of the people to the LORD” (Exodus 19:9).

 

          Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Matthew 11:15). To each of the seven churches of Asia Minor, Jesus said, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22).

 

          But, additionally, we need to be careful what we hear. Everything that is taught in the name of Jesus is not Jesus’ teaching. That’s the deceptive power of Satan. Even the Devil can quote Scripture! “Pay attention to what you hear” (Mark 4:24).

 

          Our spiritual ear is, or should be, as fragile and sensitive to what we hear spiritually as our physical ear is. Damaging our spiritual ears can be eternally devastating. “For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.” (Matthew 13:15).

Be An Outsider

L.L. Bean is a brand that has become associated with outdoor clothing and gear.  They’ve worked hard to build this identity.  Last week they took their advertising of this theme to a whole new level.

An insert was prepared for the New York Times.  At first glance it appeared to be a sheet of paper with almost nothing printed on it.  “L.L. Bean” was written on the top, “Be An Outsider” was in even larger letters on the bottom, and scattered along the nearly-blank sheet were letters that spelled out “Just bring this outside.”

Those who followed the instructions – who took the sheet outside into the sunlight – saw a “manifesto” urging them to get outside more.  The implicit idea, of course, was that L.L. Bean would be happy to serve as their outfitters.  But only in the sunlight of the outdoors would this message appear.  The advertising world is raving at the idea.

You could easily sum up one of the main themes of the Bible as “step outside into the light”.  At the beginning of his gospel John wrote this: “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.  And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it” (John 1:4,5).  In verse 14 it is made clear that “Him” refers to Jesus.

Note the message: Light shines in the darkness, but those who choose to remain in that darkness will not “comprehend it”.  They won’t understand the message.

Those who wish to follow Jesus are called to stay “outside” where the light can be found: “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.  But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:6,7).  To walk in darkness is to choose to remain in a sinful lifestyle.

It is only when we are walking in heaven’s light that we’ll be able to “get it”, to understand the fullness of joy and peace that comes from discipleship.  Here is how Paul described that idea: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2).  When we live it, we’ll understand it better.

Memorizing the Bible and being able to parse every Hebrew or Greek word will not bring the same insights as actually living God’s will.  Only as we walk in the light will His purpose begin to appear before our eyes.

By the way, the word “church” in the Greek means “those who are called out”. Let’s step out of this world in order to live in God’s light. What wonders will be revealed to us!

Come to the light God offers!  Study His word, the Bible.  Worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24).  Get in touch with us if you’d like to discuss these ideas further.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Copyright, 2017, Timothy D. Hall

What’s The Difference?

… Between the atheist who would not dream of financially supporting the church and the Christian who will not financially support the Lord’s church?

… Between the skeptic who does not believe the Bible and the negligent Christian who never reads it?

… Between those who do not believe in Bible classes and those who choose never to attend a class?

… Between the atheist who does nothing to build up the Lord’s church and the Christian who finds fault with others but does nothing himself?

… Between a man of the world and a person in the church who lives like a man in the world?

… Between a man of the world who lives for self and a person in the church building who lives for self, not God?

These are tough questions for Christians who live in a tough world. The fact is, Christians make no difference until they are different.

– selected

Narrow-Mindedness

Do not feel insulted when someone tells you that your religion is narrow. Maybe he is right. If he is right, you should feel complimented. Your critic may be confusing narrowness with bigotry, in which case he is the one out of step, not you. Bigotry the Lord condemned; narrowness (in the scriptural use of the term) he commended: “…narrow is the way that leadeth unto life, and few there be which find it.”

The Narrowness of Truth

Truth is always narrow. Five plus five equals ten; this is true from kindergarten to college and everywhere else in the world. It isn’t ten because the arithmetic book says so, but it is ten because it cannot be anything else. If in a class of 100 students, only one gave ten as the answer to five plus five and all the other 99 agreed on a different answer, the one would be right and all the others wrong.

Historical truth is narrow. The Battle of San Jacinto was fought in Texas; Valley Forge was in Pennsylvania. These are facts which are understood alike by all students of history. If a student in a history class gave any other answer concerning the location of these spots, he would be incorrect. No one would think the teacher was “narrow” in telling him so.

There are twelve inches in a foot, three feet in a yard all over the world. It doesn’t matter whether the one doing the measuring is a president or a preacher, an illiterate hill-billy or a college professor. To fail to recognize these facts would throw the world into hopeless confusion.

Religious Truth

Since truth in every other field is narrow and dogmatic, why should we suppose that divine truth is so flexible as to be susceptible of any interpretation man wants to place upon it? “We just can’t see it alike,” someone answers. But we see other things alike. Is man more able to make himself understood than is God? We may misunderstand the meaning of a passage of scripture, but does our misunderstanding of it change the meaning of the passage? Does its meaning change and shift to suit our various understandings of it? If the writer of the passage meant to teach something when he wrote the passage, is not that ‘something’ that he intended still in the passage?

Take, for example, the much discussed passage, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16). The question about this passage is whether Jesus did, or did not, make baptism necessary to salvation. He either did, or he didn’t. Some of us believe that he did; others vehemently deny it. It must be apparent to all that somebody is teaching false doctrine on this point. Is it broadminded to ignore these contradictions and pretend they do not exist? Baptists and Presbyterians teach that a child of God cannot fall away from the favor of God and be lost; Methodists teach that he can fall away and be lost. Does the Bible teach both?

Now if we are to escape the stigma of being called “narrow,” we must cooperate with and encourage the man who is teaching the very opposite of what we believe to be the truth. Is this honesty? If one preacher preached four conflicting doctrines, people would call him a hypocrite; but if four preachers preach four conflicting doctrines, they are all supposedly teaching the truth!

How Broad Should We Be?

The Unitarian believes that Jesus of Nazareth was a great man and a great teacher, but that he was not the Son of God. The Orthodox Jew worships God, but denies the divinity of Jesus. Shall we have these men in our fellowship:? If honesty and sincerity are the only criteria, why not? Who will say they are not as honest as we are? Some denominational preachers are already taking this position. They swap pulpits with Jewish rabbis right along. This shocks the religious sensibilities in the world but it is the legitimate and inevitable fruit of that ‘anything-and- anybody-is-right’ attitude that we are talking about.

Most members of denominations are not ready yet to take in the Jews and the Unitarians on their broadminded position. They narrow it down a bit. We must believe in Christ, they say; we must see alike on those scriptures that teach that Jesus was the Son of God; that he was born of a virgin; that he suffered vicariously; that he arose from the dead; that he ascended into heaven, where he intercedes for us. But why must we see alike on those particular passages, but have unbounded liberty to differ on nearly everything else connected with the religion of Christ? Are not the passages pertaining to the organization of the church, baptism, apostasy, worship, church membership, discipline, authority, etc., inspired of God as much as are the other passages? Are not these things a part of the Lord’s plan? Have they not place with divine truth? How much truth is essential, and how much is non-essential? How much of the Bible is important, and how much is unimportant?

We feel no personal animosity, of course, toward those who teach things we do not believe; but we cannot, with a good conscience, bid them Godspeed. John said, “If there come any unto you and bring not this doctrine, received him not into your house; neither bid him Godspeed: For he that biddeth him Godspeed is partaker of his evil deeds” (2 John 10). Paul said, “If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:9). These apostles thought it was a matter of much import what a man believed and taught.

We are not infallible, and we are open to any truth that may be presented to us; we will change when convinced we are wrong. But two things we do know, and of them we are certain: (1) truth does not contradict truth, and (2) we will not learn by hiding our heads in the sand and refusing to admit that religious divisions exist, or that such are wrong.

– by Luther Blackmon
(The Gospel Guardian, 12/8/1949)

A Savior Who Served!

Two convicts in prison were talking and one said, “You know, I can’t help but feel our being in here makes the world a better place.” It’s a sad reality of life that the world is better off because some people are locked away. Is the world a better place because you are in it? The topic of making the world a better place brings to mind the mother who was trying to get her little five- year-old daughter to help out around the house. Mom said, “The reason God put us here is to serve others.” Immediately the five-year-old shot back, “Then what are the others here for?”

The church is supposed to function as “the body of Christ” (Ephesians 1:22-23). As such “the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” I am captured by the phrase “every part does its share.” There are a bunch of different parts in a whole and healthy human body, and every part has a role to play. Trillions of cells specialize and work together as muscles and organs and blood vessels and the brain. There are arms and legs and eyes and ears and fingers and toes. On and on the list could go. But no matter how many there are, the apostle Paul says, “every part does its share.” Paul uses this well-know anatomical fact to illustrate the different roles and functions members of the body of Christ have in Romans 12:4-5 – “For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.” Clear enough – in the body or church of Christ, there are all kinds of members with all kinds of abilities and talents and aptitudes. But one thing there is not – there is no such thing as an “inactive” member of the body of Christ, at least not a spiritually healthy one. Every part has a role to play, a part to perform. As somebody colorfully put it, there are no belly buttons on the body of Christ. No authentic follower of Jesus can just take up space in the body and collect lint!

Christians follow a Savior who served. In Acts 10:38 Peter declared that Jesus “went about doing good.” On one occasion Jesus Himself confronted His disciples after they had been disputing “as to which of them should be considered the greatest” by saying, “For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves” (Luke 22:24, 27). Another time, after James and John brashly demanded of Jesus “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask,” Jesus turned the egocentric standards of their thinking and ours upside down by declaring that “whoever desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (see Mark 10:35-45). Jesus made the world a better place from a cross, not from a recliner chair. He served while He lived, and in John 13, the night before the cross, He stoops to wash His disciples’ dirty feet, declaring to them, “I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you” (vs 15). The next day Jesus died so the dirt could be washed from our souls. Jesus was the Savior who served you. Are you serving Him? Think about it.

By: Dan Gulley, Smithville, TN

“Don’t Forget The Fuel”

Sean Harris’ run of bad decisions began last week when he decided to rob a gas station in LaPorte, Indiana.  After suggesting to the clerk that he had a gun, he made off with food, drinks, and cigarettes.

Sean’s second bad decision was revealed soon after his getaway.  Police found him standing beside his car on the side of a two-lane highway.  His car had run out of gas.  If he was going to rob a gas station, he might have at least fueled up his car!

If you’re looking for a few minutes of humorous entertainment, just type “dumb criminals” into the search engine of your web browser.  There is no shortage of stories like Sean’s.  Those who disregard the laws of the land rarely elude detection.

Elijah was no criminal; but a prophet of God.  He had just won a decisive victory over the prophets of Baal when wicked Queen Jezebel threatened to kill him.  After running for his life for a day, Elijah lay down, exhausted and depressed.  He confessed his despair to God: “Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers” (1 Kings 19:4).

After sleeping for a time he was awakened by an angel: “Arise and eat” he was told, and was shown food and water.  After eating and sleeping again the angel came a second time: “Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you” (1 Kings 19:5-7).

The food Elijah ate that day was clearly not ordinary food, for the text tells us this: “he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights” (1 Kings 19:8).  The lesson for us seems obvious: When we accept what God provides we’ll have more than enough stamina for whatever tasks we face.

A similar statement of this principle can be found in Isaiah 40:30,31: “Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall.  But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”

As followers of Christ we are walking a path that is sometimes strenuous.  Can we successfully make it to our destination?  “For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise” (Hebrews 10:36).  But the hill before us is awfully steep.  How can we reach the top?

Here’s Paul’s advice: Hold “fast to [Christ], from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God” (Colossians 2:19).  By remaining connected to the Lord, we’ll have strength for the journey.

Come to the light God offers!  Study His word, the Bible.  Worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24).  Get in touch with us if you’d like to discuss these ideas further.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Copyright, 2017, Timothy D. Hall

Several “people of faith”

Abel’s Faithful Offering

Hebrews 11:4 “By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks.”

  1. God was pleased with Abel’s offering.
  2. Genesis 4:3-5
  3. Faith made the difference.
  4. It was a working faith.
  5. Cain’s works evil. 1 John 3:11-12
  6. Jam. 2:17 “Thus also faith by itself, if it does
  7. James 1:22 “But be doers of the word, and
  1. God witnessed Abel’s sacrifice and its rightness.
  2. “Witness” & “testifying” from same Greek word meaning give a good report
  1. “Righteous” means he had followed divine law
  2. Evidently God had given direction (Rom. 10:17)
  3. May have been animal vs. vegetable
  4. Or God wanted first & best (firstlings & fat)
  5. Know God wanted obedience. 1 Sam. 15:22
  6. Having seen, God will reward.

Matthew 6:1-4, 5-6, 16-18

III.  Abel is dead, but still speaks.

  1.   Blood calling for vengeance.  Hebrews 12:24;

Genesis 4:10

  1. Through his example of obedient faith
  2. Reminding us God’s favor is available to the obedient.  Matthew 7:21

God Took Him

Hebrews 11:5

  1. Enoch walked with God.
  2. Genesis 5:21-22  Of others in this genealogy it says,

“And he lived,” but “Enoch walked with God”

–denotes close relationship.

  1. 1 Jn. 1:3-7  Fellowship with Father & Son
  2. Hebrew writer quoted Septuagint, “pleased God”.
  3. Hebrews 11:6  “But without faith it is impossible
  4. Enoch–rewarded by being taken home.
  5. Enoch talked for God.
  6. Jude 14-15  Prophesied concerning Lord’s coming and the judgment of the wicked.
  1. 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9  “And to you who are
  2. Hebrews 9:27  “And as it is appointed unto
  3. Matthew 25:31-32
  4. 2 Corinthians 5:10  “For we must all appear

III.  Enoch was taken home by God.

  1. Hebrews 11:5  Translated–transfer from one place to another.
  1. Genesis 5:23-24  Of others in genealogy it says, “and

he died”, but Enoch “was not, for God took him.”

  1. All need to be transformed…
  2. Romans 6:3-7
  3. Colossians 1:13 “He has delivered
  4. …to be transferred!  1 Corinthians 15:42-44; 50-52

Noah’s Faith Today

Hebrews 11:7 “By faith Noah,

  1. being divinely warned of things not yet seen
  2. Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the substance
  3. Genesis 6:17 More than 1,000 years, no flood of this magnitude.
  1. 2 Peter 2:5 Destruction because of ungodly.
  2. Marriage problems. Genesis 6:2

Based on wrong motive.

  1. Heart problems. Genesis 6:5
  2. Violence. Genesis 6:11
  3. Matthew 24:36-39 We are warned.
  4. 2 Peter 3:3-4 Mock–all things same.
  1. moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household
  1. Genesis 6:22 “Thus Noah did; according to
  2. 2 Peter 3:9-12 End coming.
  3. Titus 2:11-15 Tell about it to save family.
  4. 2 Timothy 4:8 “Finally, there is laid up for
  5. Matthew 25:13 “Watch therefore, for you

III.  “by which he condemned the world and became

the heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.”

  1. 1 Peter 3:20 “Who formerly were disobedient
  2. Water–the line of demarcation–saved or destroyed.
  1. 1 Peter 3:21 “There is also an antitype which now saves us, namely baptism.
  1. 1 Corinthians 16:22 Maranatha
  2. Hebrews 9:28 “So Christ was offered once

The Faith of Abraham

Hebrews 11:8-19

  1. Caused him to live like a traveler.
  2. Hebrews 11:8  Left his home.
  3. “Called” is present tense indicating no sooner called than went.
  1. Unknown destination on earth.
  2. Hebrews 11:9  Like visitor passing through.
  3. Only land cave of Machpelah for burying.
  4. Genesis 23:3-20
  5.   Genesis 25:7-10
  6. Possessed God’s promise (land).
  7. 1 Peter 1:17 “And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your sojourning here in fear.”
  1. 1 Peter 2:11 “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul.”
  1. Hebrews 11:10
  2. Abraham’s destination eternal city!
  3. Hebrews 13:13-14
  4. Was rewarded with the child of promise.
  5. Abraham and Sarah needed faith.
  6. Gen. 15:1-4 Abram:  servant heir?
  7. Genesis 16 Tried to help God.
  8. Gen. 17:15-19; 18:12-15 Abraham & Sarah laughed at thoughts of barren, past child bearing past child bearing having a child!
  1. Hebrews 11:11  Faith overcame doubts.
  2. Hebrews 11:12  Dead in reproductive sense rewarded with nation!
  1. Hebrews 11:13  Died as lived–in faith.

Only saw promise in the distance.

  1. Hebrews 11:14-16  Because openly seek

God’s country–God not ashamed.

  1. Revelation 21:3  “And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God.'”

III.  Stood up to a great test.

  1. Hebrews 11:17-18  “Offered up” 1st perfect tense–completed in mind.

2nd Imperfect–stopped in progress.

  1. Genesis 17:15-19  Isaac son of promise.
  2. Hebrews 11:19  Said they would be back!
  3. Genesis 22:5  “And Abraham said to his young men,

‘Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.'”

They Sought a Homeland

Hebrews 11:13-16

  1. A pilgrimage of faith.
  2. Hebrews 11:13  They died as they lived, in faith.
  3. God had often repeated his promise.
  4. Genesis 12:1-3 Abram’s call (75-175)
  5. Genesis 22:16-18 After Isaac’s sacrifice
  6. Genesis 26:3-5 To Isaac in famine (180)
  7. Genesis 28:13-14 To Jacob at Bethel (147)
  8. Its fulfillment was only seen through the eye of faith.
  9. They lived as pilgrims–one who crosses the field–like those who went on a pilgrimage to the holy land
  1. Genesis 23:3-4 “Then Abraham stood up from

before his dead, and spoke to the sons of Heth,

saying, ‘I am a foreigner and a visitor among you.

Give me property for a burial place among you,

that I may bury my dead out of my sight.’”

  1. Genesis 47:9a “And Jacob said to Pharaoh, ‘The

days of the years of my pilgrimage are one hundred

and thirty years…’”

  1. 1 Peter 2:11 “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners

and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war

against the soul.”

  1. A pilgrimage looking toward home.
  2. Hebrews 11:14 Looked forward to the world to come
  3. Hebrews 11:15 Could have gone back to Canaan
  4. Hebrews 13:14 “For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come.”
  1. Hebrews 11:16a
  2. Hebrews 11:9-10 Dwelt–lived like a resident alien
  3. Philippians 3:20-21 “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.” [Octavian and Mark Anthony defeated the Roman Republican Army –Brutus and Cassius.]

III.  A pilgrimage to please the Father.

  1. Hebrews 11:16b
  2. Exodus 3:15b “‘Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: ‘The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.  This is My name for-ever, and this is My memorial to all generations.’”
  1. Matthew 22:31-32 “But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’?  God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” (Exodus 3:6)
  1. 2 Corinthians 6:14-18
  2. Revelation 21:3 “And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people.  God Himself will be with them and be their God.’”

The Son of Promise

Hebrews 11:17-19

  1. An only son.
  2. Hebrews 11:17
  3. Genesis 21:13 Ishmael was also the seed of Abraham
  4. “Only begotten” – “Isaac was unique and irreplaceable” (F. F. Bruce 311)
  5. Jesus was God’s only Son.
  6. John 1:1-3, 14
  7. John 1:18
  8. John 3:16
  9. The son of promise.
  10. Hebrews 11:18 (Rom. 9:8-9; 2:28-29)
  11. Genesis 18:10a “And He said, ‘I will surely return to you according to the time of life, and behold,       Sarah your wife shall have a son.’”
  12. Genesis 21:12
  13. Genesis 22:18
  14. God’s only Son promises we can be children of God
  15. Galatians 3:15-18
  16. Galatians 3:26-29

III.  A son sacrificed.

  1. Genesis 22:14 Jehovah Jireh – God saw Abraham’s need and provided
  2. Hebrews 11:17 “offered up” – “In the course of being tried Abraham ‘has offered’” (Lenski 401)
  3. Genesis 22:5, 19
  4. God saw lost humanity and provided a lamb
  5. Galatians 3:13-14
  6. Isaiah 53:7-8 (Acts 8:32-33)
  7. John 1:29
  8. 27 times in Rev. called the Lamb
  1. A son resurrected.
  2. Hebrews 11:19 Received in a parable
  3. John 8:56
  4. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Moses’ Faithful Choices

Hebrews 11:24-29

  1. Moses refused some things.
  2. Hebrews 11:24 Earthly power
  3. Note: “…when he became of age…”
  4. Heb. 11:23 Parents made choices
  5. Hebrews 11:25 “…pleasures of sin…”
  6. Brief–“…passing…”
  7. 2 Cor. 4:18 “While we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.  For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
  1. Hebrews 11:26 riches–“treasures in Egypt”
  2. Riches–“…treasures in Egypt…”
  3. Matthew 6:19-20 “Do not lay up for
  4. Moses accepted some unpleasant things.
  5. Hebrews 11:25 “…affliction with the people of God…”
  1. Hebrews 11:26 “reproach for Christ” (K.J.V.  margin) Fled so might continue obedience.
  1. 1 Peter 4:14-16

III.  Moses was motivated by faith.

  1. Hebrews 11:24, 27 Refused to serve visible

gods of Egypt to serve the invisible God!

  1. Hebrews 11:28 Sacrificed before death passed over!
  1. Hebrews 11:29 Led fearful people in faith.

Concl.  Eternal destiny result of choices.  Mt. 7:13-14

A City that Fell by Faith

Hebrews 11:30 “By faith the walls of Jericho fell

down after they were encircled for seven days.”

Outer wall = 6′ Inner = 12′

  1. Jericho was a gift from God.
  2. Joshua 6:1-2
  3. Joshua 6:16
  4. Salvation is also a gift from God.

Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the

  1. We also have to conquer.  2 Corinthians 10:4-5
  2. Received after the conditions were met by faith.
  3. Joshua 6:3-5 Conditional gift
  4.   Joshua 6:12-16, 20
  5. Salvation is ours after we meet God’s conditions by faith
  1. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He
  2. John 3:36 (A.S.V.) “He that believeth on the Son hath eternal life; but he that obeyeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.”
  3. Hebrews 5:8-9 “Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience
  4. Galatians 5:6 “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.”
  1. Acts 17:30 “Truly, these times of ignorance God
  2. Romans 10:9 “That if you confess with your mouth
  3. Galatians 3:26-27 “For you are all the sons of God

Rahab Was Spared Because of Faith

Hebrews 11:31

  1. Rahab was a sinner.
  2. Joshua 2:1 A harlot
  3. 1 Timothy 1:15 “This is a faithful saying and worthy
  4. 1 John 3:5 “And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin.”
  1. Hebrews 9:24-26
  2. Rahab believed in the God of heaven.
  3. Joshua 2:9-11 Because of what she had heard
  4. Others heard too
  5. She believed and acted
  6. Joshua 2:1-8 Hid the spies
  7. Joshua 2:12-13 Requested to be spared
  8. Joshua 2:15-16 Helped the spies escape

III.  Rahab and those in her house were spared.

  1. Joshua 2:17-19 Had to be in the house with the scarlet thread
  1. Joshua 6:17, 21-25 Spared
  2. Matthew 1:5 In the lineage of our Lord, “Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab,…”
  1. We can be like her
  2. Scarlet thread of blood shed for the church Acts 20:28 “Therefore take heed to yourselves and Ephesians 5:25-26 “Husbands, love your wives…
  3. Revelation 1:5 “And from Jesus Christ, the faithful must be in the church, God’s house, to be spared

Acts 2:47 “Praising God and having favor with all

  1. Name in the book of life. Revelation 20:12-15

    –Gary C. Hampton

1.5 years total

Have you wondered why there never seems to be enough time to get everything done?  Well, we may now have the answer.  According to an article in U. S. News, an average American, in his lifetime, will spend:

6 months at stoplights
8 months opening junk mail
1 year looking for misplaced items
2 years unsuccessfully trying to return phone calls
6 years waiting in line
6 years eating

Other recent studies suggest that we will spend as much as 20 years watching TV, and even more time sleeping!

Now, to put this in its proper perspective, think of this: if you attend every service of the church (Sunday Bible study, Sunday morning and evening worship, and Wednesday night Bible study) you will spend only about 1.5 years total.  That’s only slightly more time than you will spend looking for misplaced items, and only about twice as much time as you will spend opening junk mail!

But, some Christians will not do even this much.  Over and over again we return to Hebrews 10:25 – “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves, together”.  God commands us to assemble.  Why?  There are multiple reasons, but the context of this verse clearly shows that there is a great benefit for US!  Are you taking advantage of this great blessing?

Christian, how are you using your time?  If you don’t regularly attend all of the services, you may be spending more time opening junk mail than worshiping God.  Isn’t that a terrifying thought!?!

– by Greg Gwin