Faith

Be Confident Series
Hebrews 11
I.                   The description of Faith
a.     Not blind optimism- Hope so attitude, feeling
b.     It is confident obedience to God’s Word in spite of circumstances
c.      Substance
d.     Evidence- “conviction”
e.      Witness- “obtained a good report”
II.                The demonstration of Faith
a.     Abel- worshipping
                                                             i.      Abel’s offering was accepted and Cain’s was not
b.     Enoch-Faith walking
                                                             i.      Picture of rapture for God took him.
                                                           ii.      He did not die
1.     Direct contrast to Abel
c.      Noah- faith working
                                                             i.      Built the Ark
1.     Exactly as God said – obedience
2.     Despite what the world said
3.     Probably no ocean around
4.     Did not rain
5.     Took 100 years
a.     Methuselah – oldest man died right before flood, perhaps God waited?
d.     The patriarchs- faith waiting
                                                             i.      Abraham waited in God’s time
1.     Obeyed when he did not know how God’s will would be accomplished
2.     Obeyed when he did not know when God would fulfill His promise
3.     Obeyed when he did not know why God was so working
e.      Moses- faith warring
                                                             i.      The refusal of Faith- Moses chose not to stay in a cushy position in the Pharoh’s court
                                                           ii.      The reproach of faith- when he left the palace he NEVER went back to that lifestyle.
                                                        iii.      The reward of faith- “Moses chose the imperishable, saw the invisible, and did the impossible.”
f.       Joshua and Rahab- faith winning
                                                             i.      Joshua belived God in every instance- Defeating Jericho
1.     Walls were 40 foot
2.     They came down just by the sound of the trumpets and shouts
                                                           ii.      Rahab- was a harlot
1.     Saved by grace- other in the city was marked for death
2.     Saved by Faith- she knew about God and what he was about to do
a.     She didn’t know much
3.     Saved unto good works- she protected the spies
g.     Various heroes of faith
                                                             i.      Gideon- a farmer, faith did not grow strong right away
1.     Barak was the same
                                                           ii.      Samson- did not cut his hair or drink wine
1.     He believed God to help and deliver him
                                                        iii.      David
                                                        iv.      Daniel- stopped the Lion’s mouth
1.     Shadrack, Meshack, Abednigo- fiery furnace
                                                           v.      Others had faith- Hebrews 11:36.

Today is postponed but also a day to Praise Him!

Last night we experienced a storm. This storm moved through our neighborhood while we were on our way home. Randi and I did our usual “What are we doing for dinner?” conversation and we decided on Long John Silver’s. We stopped at the one in Lake Worth but noticed the power was out. So we decided to go to the one in Saginaw. We didn’t know how bad the storm was but it had knocked out power to them as well.
“Sonic?” my wife exclaims.
“Sure!” my stomach yells.
We ate while the rest of the storm passed on by. The temperature went from 103 to 75 in a matter of 30 minutes. Then the trip home. As we pulled into the outskirts of our neighborhood we started to see trees down everywhere and got a little nervous. Even the old trees at the local elementary school were down. They must have been 100 years old.

Then….

We were at first a little upset but then quickly reminded that God had redirected our path to not be in this mess. You know? Sometimes God sends a storm our way just so that we can be a little closer to Him.

Grace to you!

The Superior Sacrifice

Be confident series

The Superior Sacrifice

Hebrews 10

-This chapter emphasizes the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ

3 benefits that explain why Jesus Christ is Superior to the old covenant sacrifices

I.                   Christ’s Sacrifice Takes away sin (10:1-10)

1.                  We are not sinners because we sin, We sin because we are sinners

B.                 The need for a better sacrifice (vv. 1-4)

1.                  The very nature of the old covenant made them inferior

2.                  Animal sacrifices could never completely deal with human guilt

3.                  Day of Atonement was not to accomplish the remission of sins but to remind of sin

4.                  Desperate need for a better sacrifice

5.                  Blood only covered sins never took it away

C.                The provision of a better sacrifice (vv. 5-9)

1.                  God provided the sacrifice not man.

a)                  Man provided the goat or pigeon …

D.                The effectiveness of the better sacrifice (v. 10)

1.                  The believer is set apart or sanctified.

2.                  Under O.C. the person had to constantly be purified

II.                Christ’s Sacrifice need not be Repeated (10:11-18)

A.                By Christ “sitting down” at the right hand of God symbolizes that it is a finished work

B.                 The sacrifices were repeated day after day

C.                You don’t need to take aspirin anymore.

III.             Christ’s Sacrifice Opens the way to God (10:19-39)

1.                  The Holy of Holies was closed

B.                 A gracious invitation (vv. 19-25)

1.                  Christ’ blood allows us to be bold in entering the HOH

2.                  “Let us draw near”

3.                  “Let us hold fast”

4.                  “Let us consider one another”

C.                A solemn exhortation (vv. 26-31)

1.                  Despising the word

a)                  The evidence of this despising is a willful sin

b)                  This cheapens the sacrifice

D.                An encouraging confirmation (vv. 32-39)

1.                  The Just shall live by FAITH

The Superior Sanctuary

Be Confident Series

The Superior Sanctuary

Hebrews 9

I.                   The Inferior Old Covenant Sanctuary (9:1-10)

1.                  5 questions to answer what made the tabernacle inferior

B.                 It was an earthly sanctuary (v.1)

1.                  Made by man

2.                  Needed repair

3.                  Limited geographically

C.                 It was a type of something greater (vv. 2-5)

1.                  The furnishings listed carried a spiritual meaning (Hebrews 9:23)

a)                 Lampstand= the nation of Israel was supposed to be the light of the world. It was situated outside the Holy of Holies and it was pitch black except for the lamp

b)                 Table of the showbread=reminds them that God has sustained them

(1)              Bread of life= refers to Jesus

c)                  Golden Altar= picture of prayers ascending to God (Ps. 141:2

d)                 Ark of the Covenant= mercy seat

D.                It was inaccessible to the people (vv. 6-7)

1.                  Only the Levites were allowed in the sanctuary

E.                 It was temporary (v. 8)

1.                  The veil was torn from top to bottom

F.                  Its ministry was external, not internal (vv. 9-10)

1.                  All of the ceremonies had to do with the outer man and not the inner man.

II.               The Superior Heavenly Sanctuary (9:11-28) matched with the inferiorities

A.                 It is heavenly (v.11)

1.                  The tabernacle was patterned after the sanctuary in Heaven.

2.                  No need for repair, it is eternal

B.                 Its ministry is effective to deal with sin (vv. 12-15)

1.                  Ceremonial cleansing vs. conscience cleansing (vv.13-14)

2.                  Temporary blessing vs. eternal blessings (v.15)

C.                 Its ministry is based on a costly sacrifice (vv. 16-23)

1.                  Under the old covenant sins were covered by blood- Jesus’ blood covers our sins

D.                It’s ministry represents fulfillment (v. 24)

1.                  New covenant things are “made without hands”- whereas the old was made with hands.

a)                 The temple does not stand today

E.                 It’s ministry is final and complete (vv. 25-28)

1.                  The work of Christ is a completed work

Obedience

Today’s Reading; Matthew 1-4

How well do you obey divine directives? On an obedience scale of 1-10 (with 1 being “consistently disobedient,” 10 being “consistently obedient”), how would you rate yourself?

Today’s reading abounds with examples of the importance of obedience. The genealogy of chapter one sparkles with the names of those who obeyed God in times of spiritual decadence: Abraham, Ruth, David, Hezekiah, Josiah, Joseph. Chapter 3 describes the ministry of John the Baptist as he preached message of repentance and fruit bearing, a message of demanding uncompromising obedience. In chapter 4, Jesus was obedient to God’s will and Word, rather than to agree to Satan’s subtle temptations.

In what area of your life is God speaking to you about obedience? It is one thing to know what God wants you to do; it is something else to make obedience a commitment in your daily schedule. In the margin or on a piece of paper, write the acts of obedience performed by three different people in the genealogy (for example, Abraham obeyed God by leaving Ur).  Now add your name to the list, together with an act of obedience you will undertake by faith today.

Practice of Righteousness

Today’s Reading Romans 12-16

When someone strikes you on the cheek and you strike them back, that’s expected – the natural reaction. When someone strikes you on the other cheek and you still don’t retaliate even after running out of cheeks, that’s remarkable – the supernatural reaction.

The final chapters of Romans deal with supernatural reactions to everyday situations – the kind possible only when Christ is in control. Can you think of a 20th- century example from your life that illustrates the kind of reaction Paul is calling for with each of the following exhortations?

Prefer one another (12:10)__________________________________________________
Be patient in tribulation (12:12) _____________________________________________
Give no man evil for evil (12:17) ____________________________________________
Avenge not yourself (12:19) ________________________________________________

Remember, anyone can act like a Christian, but it takes a true Christian to react like one!

Today’s Reading Romans 9-11

Does history scare you or excite you? After surveying the pages of Israel’s history and seeing God’s fingerprints on every page, Paul bursts forth in a spontaneous expression of praise and worship: “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!” (11:33)

For Paul, it is like thumbling through old scrapbooks of the history of his people, and recalling the faithfulness of God in the midst of unbelief. Who would hesitate to entrust the future to a God like that?

Pull out some old photograph or scrapbook albums and spend a few minutes reviewing God’s faithfulness to you and your family. Where did He meet the unexpected needs? Provide safety? Heal illness? Give blessings you never dreamed of? Now express your confidence in Him for future needs, and close your time of prayer by reading out loud 11:36.

Putting the WORD to Work

One of the interesting patterns you’ll note in Scripture as you continue through the Epistles involves content and application.
You see, God gave us the Bible not merely for our information, but for our transformation. As the New Testament clearly teaches us, knowing and not doing is really not knowing at all. That’s why Jesus frequently ended His talks with the words, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
This crucial movement from content to application, underlies all the New Testament letters. For instance, in Romans, the apostle Paul outlines the basic truths of the Christian faith in chapters 1-11, then it applies it in chapters 12-15. Ephesians 1-3 reveals doctrine, then moves to duty in chapters 4-6.
Paul is not the only author who consistently takes the profound truths of the faith into the realm of the everyday life. John, James, and even Jesus in His recorded sermons consistently spend at least half their time applying the content they have taught.
The lesson here is obvious. Knowledge must always lead to something even more important – obedience.
That may may not be easy, but it’s what God calls us to do. As Mark Twain once said, “Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand; but the passages that bother me the most are those I do understand.”
Here is something to think about:
Are you letting your Bible reading become just an intellectual exercise, a means of gaining more information? Or are you letting its truths sift through your own life, so that you wrestle with the will of God in your own life every day?
The Biblical pattern is clear: In God’s eyes, knowledge requires obedience. Take some time to examine your own life in light of that pattern, and talk it over with God.

Pursuit of Righteousness

Today’s Reading Romans 6-8

A do-it-yourselfer went into a hardware store and asked for a saw. The salesman pulled a chain saw from the shelf and commented, “This is our finest saw. Guaranteed to cut ten cords of lumber a day.”
“I’ll take it!” responded the customer jubilantly.
Next day he came back, haggard and exhausted, to return the chain saw. “Something must be wrong, he moaned. “I could only cut three cords of lumber a day with that thing.”
“Let me try it,” urged the salesman, pulling on the cord to start the motor. “Vvvvvrrrroooooommmm,” went the chain saw. “What’s that noise?” exclaimed the customer.
Chapters 7 and 8 may remind you of the plight of that do-it-yourselfer: wanting to do the right thing but failing to apply the power for victorious living that God  has supplied in the person of the Holy Spirit. See if you can find five promises in chapter 8 regarding the Holy Spirit’s role in your daily life. Then select one and draw upon it today. That’s why they’re there.

Provision of Unrighteousness

Today’s Reading Romans 4-5

Provision of Unrighteousness

It’s only natural to be friendly to those who are friendly.

To like those who are likeable.

To love those who are lovely.

Outgoing, attractive, pleasant people have a magnetic quality about them that draws the attention and affection in others. Human love is a response to favorable qualities in the object of one’s affection.

Not so with God’s love! He expressed His love for sinful humanity while we were “without strength”, “ungodly” (5:6), “sinners” (5:8), and “enemies” (5:10). God’s love is not a response at all. It is a decisive act of His will toward the object of His affection. God loves you, not because of but in spite of you.

Do you love as God loves, reaching out with concern and compassion to the needy and unlovely and even repulsive? If not, admit your lack of love to God (He knows already); meditate upon His unconditional love for you; then with God’s help, allow the “love of God (to be) shed abroad” (5:5) from your heart to the heart of one other person who desperately needs to experience it today.