Saturday, March 3 2012
Lessons Of Perseverance And Faith
Hebrews 11 has been called "the faith chapter of the Bible," and as such, it has much to say about faith - even defining faith ("11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" Hebrews 11:1 KJV). But the Holy Bible was originally written without chapters; they were added, along with verse numbers, mostly by European printers only a few centuries ago. With that reality in mind, it's important to realize that often a single chapter is only a part of a greater teaching that spans a number of chapters. The "faith chapter" is included in that category - it actually begins at the very start of Hebrews, but further along, the author of Hebrews was speaking of perseverance in (what became) Hebrews "chapter" 10, which was then followed with Hebrews "chapter" 11 to expound how faith is the means of perseverance.
The lesson of perseverance, and the warning not to fall away, was the lead-in of "the faith chapter."
"10:19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 10:20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh [see Why Was It Torn?]; 10:21 And having an high priest over the house of God; 10:22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. 10:23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) 10:24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works [see Works Means Obedience]: 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
10:26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 10:27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries [see The Unpardonable Sin]. 10:28 He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: 10:29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? 10:30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. 10:31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." (Hebrews 10:19-31 KJV)
"For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins"
Then comes "the faith chapter" that explains how faith is the foundation of perseverance.
"11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 11:2 For by it the elders obtained a good report.
11:3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God [see What Does Word of God Mean To You?], so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
11:4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain [see The Sins Of The World's Oldest Profession], by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.
11:5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death [see What Happened To Enoch?]; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
11:7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith [see The Voyage To The New World; also How Did The Flood Happen?].
11:8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went [see The Journey From Ur Of The Chaldees]. 11:9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise [see What Did Jesus Christ Say About Abraham?]: 11:10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
11:11 Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. 11:12 Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable [see Abram and Sarai].
11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 11:14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. 11:15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. 11:16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city [see The True Gospel Of Christ].
11:17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac [see A History Of Jerusalem: Melchizedek's Salem]: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son. 11:18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: 11:19 Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.
11:20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come [see The First Meeting Of Israel And Esau].
11:21 By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph [see Jacob's Blessing Of Ephraim And Manasseh]; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.
11:22 By faith Joseph [see Joseph, Prime Minister Of Egypt], when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.
11:23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king's commandment [see The River Of Moses].
11:24 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter;
11:25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; 11:26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward. 11:27 By faith he forsook Egypt [see Moses Of Midian], not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible. 11:28 Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.
11:29 By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land [see The Night Crossing]: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.
11:30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days. 11:31 By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not [see The Faith Of Rahab], when she had received the spies with peace.
11:32 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: 11:33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 11:34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. 11:35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: 11:36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: 11:37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; 11:38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
11:39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: 11:40 God having provided some better thing for us [see When And Where Your Eternal Life Will Begin], that they without us should not be made perfect." (Hebrews 11:1-40 KJV)
Fact Finder: Who created faith?
See The First Act Of Faith
This Day In History, March 3
1284: The Statute of Rhuddlan incorporated Wales into England.
1575: Mughal Emperor Akbar of India defeated the Bengali army at the Battle of Tukaroi.
1847: Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, was born in Edinburgh, Scotland.
1857: Britain and France declared war on China.
1861: Serfdom was abolished in Russia by Czar Alexander II.
1875: The first organized hockey game was played, in Montreal, Canada.
1878: The peace treaty at San Stefano was signed, ending the Russo-Turkish War and gaining independence for Serbia.
1904: Kaiser (the German form of "Caesar") Wilhelm II of Germany becomes the first person to make a sound recording of a political document, using Thomas Edison's phonograph cylinder.
1918: Germany and its allies signed the treaty of Brest-Litovsk with Russia, ending hostilities between them in the First World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars).
1919: The first international air mail was flown from Vancouver, British Columbia to Seattle, Washington.
1919: The world's financial cost for the First World War was estimated to be about $197 billion.
1921: Dr. Frederick Banting and Dr. Charles Best of Toronto announced the discovery of insulin.
1924: 5 months after Turkey was made a republic on October 29 1923, the Grand National Assembly abolished the caliphate of the Ottoman empire (listen to our Sermon The Ottoman Empire).
1966: John Lennon set off an international protest when he was quoted in the London Evening Standard as saying that the Beatles were "more popular than Jesus Christ."
1991: Latvia and Estonia voted for independence from the Soviet Union.
2002: The people of Switzerland narrowly voted in favor of becoming a member of the United Nations.