Sunday, November 30, 2014

Faith - Session 5- Heroes of Faith IV



The Church of Divine Guidance (CDG) Sunday morning adult bible study group is in a study on faith. These posts are my notes for each session. Please study with us. You can participate by asking your questions or making comments in the comments below. We welcome your thoughts
and prayers.

As usual I found something this week share with you that is applicable to our study. I don't remember the author but here it is:

"Faith moves from belief into conviction, then to certainty." 

Foundational Scripture



Hebrews 11:1-2 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. –

What two things does faith enable us to do?

  1. Enables us to realize that God does exist because we see His creation and realize that things that we see were created by Him who we can’t see but know that He exist.
  2. Faith enables us to please God.
Hebrews 11:3 (HCSB) By faith we understand that the universe was created by God’s command, so that what is seen has been made from things that are not visible.

Why is faith an essential part of our relationship with God?

Because without it we can’t please God

Hebrews 11:6 (NKJV) But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

What is the evidence that our faith is not irrational or blind faith?

Creation and the Word of God.

How do we grow in faith?

The Word of God

Romans 10:17 (NKJV) So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

In the past few weeks we have studied the faith of Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses parents, Moses, and the Hebrews that left Egypt in the exodus. We have seen in some of the the qualities or characteristics of faith, in others actions caused by their faith. We will continue with the heroes of faith identified by the writer of Hebrews.

Today let’s see if we can’t finish the Hebrews 11 heroes


Rahab



Hebrews 11:31 (HCSB) By faith Rahab the prostitute received the spies in peace and didn’t perish with those who disobeyed.

Here’s the quick story on Rahab and why she is mentioned by in this list of faith heroes.
From Foster Bible Pictures 00841-1 Rahab
Helping the Two Israelite Spies


Joshua sent spies into Jericho and they hid out at Rahab’s house. The king of Jericho apparently knew that they had been there because he sent men to Rahab and told her to turn them over but Rahab lied, which is a sin and not condoned but she did anyway because she believed that God would deliver Jericho to Joshua and the Israelite army and that is why she received the spies which was the faith action.   The act of faith wasn't the lie that she told but the act of faith was that she received the spies into her house hid them and helped them escape.

Here's what happened

Joshua 2:8-11 (HCSB)8 Before the men fell asleep, she went up on the roof9 and said to them, “I know that the LORD has given you this land and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and everyone who lives in the land is panicking because of you.10 For we have heard how the LORD dried up the waters of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two Amorite kings you completely destroyed across the Jordan.11 When we heard this, we lost heart, and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the LORD your God is God in heaven above and on earth below.

Her motive was not merely to save her life and that of her family; she was convinced, as she said, that "the LORD your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below." That faith was honored when the walls of the city collapsed and all within were killed except Rahab and her family. That her faith was genuine is confirmed by Matthew when he lists her as one of the ancestors of Jesus. She went on to marry Salmon and became the mother of Boaz, and thus the great-grandmother of David.   In her case faith overcame a sinful life, and delivered her from a pagan religion. She was granted a place of honor among the heroes and heroines of faith.  Commentary Part II, Chapters 9-13 HEBREWS IVP New Testament Commentary Seriesby Ray C. Stedman

Joshua 6:22-23 (HCSB)22 Joshua said to the two men who had scouted the land, “Go to the prostitute’s house and bring the woman out of there, and all who are with her, just as you promised her.”23 So the young men who had scouted went in and brought out Rahab and her father, mother, brothers, and all who belonged to her. They brought out her whole family and settled them outside the camp of Israel.

Other mentions of Rahab

Matthew 1:5-6 (NKJV)5 Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse,6 and Jesse begot David the king. David the king begot Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah.

James 2:25 (NKJV)25 Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?

More Heroes 


Hebrews 11:32-34 (NKJV)32 And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets:33 who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,34 quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.

The six names span the history of Israel from the days of the judges to the early monarchy.

Gideon


Gideon was noted for his victory over Midian with a reduced army of only 300 men because he obeyed God, knowing that if God said would defeat Midian with that small army that he could. Gideon, like Sarah, who we mentioned a couple of weeks ago had some initial doubt. may have, but like Sarah his doubts were overcome.

Judges 6:36-40 (NKJV)36 So Gideon said to God, "If You will save Israel by my hand as You have said--37 look, I shall put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor; if there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that You will save Israel by my hand, as You have said."38 And it was so. When he rose early the next morning and squeezed the fleece together, he wrung the dew out of the fleece, a bowlful of water.39 Then Gideon said to God, "Do not be angry with me, but let me speak just once more: Let me test, I pray, just once more with the fleece; let it now be dry only on the fleece, but on all the ground let there be dew."40 And God did so that night. It was dry on the fleece only, but there was dew on all the ground.

We know the story of Gideon raising a large force and then God telling him that he had too many men.

Judges 6:34-35 (NKJV)34 But the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon; then he blew the trumpet, and the Abiezrites gathered behind him.35 And he sent messengers throughout all Manasseh, who also gathered behind him. He also sent messengers to Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali; and they came up to meet them.

Judges 7:2-7 (NKJV) 2 And the LORD said to Gideon, "The people who are with you are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel claim glory for itself against Me, saying, 'My own hand has saved me.' 3 Now therefore, proclaim in the hearing of the people, saying, 'Whoever is fearful and afraid, let him turn and depart at once from Mount Gilead.' " And twenty-two thousand of the people returned, and ten thousand remained. 4 But the LORD said to Gideon, "The people are still too many; bring them down to the water, and I will test them for you there. Then it will be, that of whom I say to you, 'This one shall go with you,' the same shall go with you; and of whomever I say to you, 'This one shall not go with you,' the same shall not go." 5 So he brought the people down to the water. And the LORD said to Gideon, "Everyone who laps from the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, you shall set apart by himself; likewise everyone who gets down on his knees to drink."6 And the number of those who lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, was three hundred men; but all the rest of the people got down on their knees to drink water. 7 Then the LORD said to Gideon, "By the three hundred men who lapped I will save you, and deliver the Midianites into your hand. Let all the other people go, every man to his place."

Judges 7:22 (NKJV) When the three hundred blew the trumpets, the LORD set every man's sword against his companion throughout the whole camp; and the army fled to Beth Acacia, toward Zererah, as far as the border of Abel Meholah, by Tabbath.

Gideon’s full story is in Judges chapters 5-8. It’s not all pretty but a pretty story still doesn’t cancel acts of faith when done in complete trust and obedience.

Gideon's act of faith was in reducing his army at God's direction and winning.

Barak


Barak, who was encouraged by the prophetess Deborah and defeated the Canaanite army of Sisera.

God promised through Deborah (who was a prophetess) to give Barak and just 10,000 Israelites a victory over the larger, better equipped Canaanite force.

Judges 4:14-16, 23-24 (HCSB)14 Then Deborah said to Barak, “Move on, for this is the day the LORD has handed Sisera over to you. Hasn’t the LORD gone before you?” So Barak came down from Mount Tabor with 10,000 men following him.15 The LORD threw Sisera, all his charioteers, and all his army into confusion with the sword before Barak. Sisera left his chariot and fled on foot.16 Barak pursued the chariots and the army as far as Harosheth of the Nations, and the whole army of Sisera fell by the sword; not a single man was left. 23 That day God subdued Jabin king of Canaan before the Israelites.24 The power of the Israelites continued to increase against Jabin king of Canaan until they destroyed him.

Read Judges chapter 4 for the full story and the part that Deborah plays in it along with Barak’s faith in that he believed and trusted the word of God that came through Deborah the prophetess and then he acted by leading these 10,000 men to victory over a much larger force.

Samson


Samson, famous as the muscleman of Israel, fatally susceptible to the charms of young women, but nevertheless the instrument of God to deliver Israel from Philistine oppression. We remember his final act of faith which was the destruction of the Philistine temple while blind and in chains.

Judges 16:28-30 (HCSB)28 He called out to the LORD: “Lord GOD, please remember me. Strengthen me, God, just once more. With one act of vengeance, let me pay back the Philistines for my two eyes.”29 Samson took hold of the two middle pillars supporting the temple and leaned against them, one on his right hand and the other on his left.30 Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines.” He pushed with all his might, and the temple fell on the leaders and all the people in it. And the dead he killed at his death were more than those he had killed in his life. 

Sampson's story is in Judges 13-16

Most people know a lot about Samson but not so many about the next hero

Jephthah


Judges 11:1 (HCSB) Jephthah the Gileadite was a great warrior, but he was the son of a prostitute, and Gilead was his father.  Jephthah was a conqueror of the Ammonites but he also remembered by a rash vow concerning his daughter.
The Return of Jephthah by Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini

Judges 11:30-31 (HCSB)30 Jephthah made this vow to the LORD: “If You will hand over the Ammonites to me,31 whatever comes out of the doors of my house to greet me when I return in

Judges 11:32-33 (HCSB)32 Jephthah crossed over to the Ammonites to fight against them, and the LORD handed them over to him.33 He defeated 20 of their cities with a great slaughter from Aroer all the way to the entrance of Minnith and to Abel-keramim. So the Ammonites were subdued before the Israelites. Judges 11:34-35 (HCSB)34 When Jephthah went to his home in Mizpah, there was his daughter, coming out to meet him with tambourines and dancing! She was his only child; he had no other son or daughter besides her.35 When he saw her, he tore his clothes and said, “No! ⌊Not⌋ my daughter! You have devastated me! You have brought great misery on me. I have given my word to the LORD and cannot take ⌊it⌋ back.” peace from the Ammonites will belong to the LORD, and I will offer it as a burnt offering.”

Jephthah's act of faith was his victory over the Ammonites even though he was initially rejected by Israel because of his mother.

You can read Jephthah’s complete story in Judges 11-12.

David


Israel's greatest king and the author of many psalms, "a man after God's own heart".

We are not going to spend much time on David today because we know a lot about him already. We know his big shortcomings, the adultery with Bathsheba, his failings as a father, his trust in his army, causing many in Israel to die, but we also know that he loved and trusted God. So much so that God called him a man after his own heart.

His faith caused him to act against Goliath, to lead Israel's army to great victories, it caused him to still believe that he would become king even while running from Saul and even when the opportunity presented itself to kill Saul he didn't do it.  He waited on God. king.

Before we go on did anybody notice anything about the judges and David, these heroes of faith?

They all had shortcomings. Gideon had some initial doubts, Sampson had a problem with women, Barak had some confidence issues, Jepthneth made a rash vow, David had major issues but God used them all.

Samuel


Samuel was the last and perhaps greatest judge and he was also a prophet , who lived by faith from his boyhood to his final days. He was a child of faith. His mother Hannah was barren and she would go year after year to the temple and pray for a son even saying that she would give him back to God.

1 Samuel 1:4-5 (HCSB)4 Whenever Elkanah offered a sacrifice, he always gave portions of the meat to his wife Peninnah and to each of her sons and daughters.5 But he gave a double portion to Hannah, for he loved her even though the LORD had kept her from conceiving.

1 Samuel 1:11 (HCSB)11 Making a vow, she pleaded, “LORD of Hosts, if You will take notice of Your servant’s affliction, remember and not forget me, and give Your servant a son, I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and his hair will never be cut.”

1 Samuel 1:19-20 (HCSB)19 The next morning Elkanah and Hannah got up early to bow in worship before the LORD. Afterward, they returned home to Ramah. Then Elkanah was intimate with his wife Hannah, and the LORD remembered her.20 After some time, Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, because ⌊she said⌋, “I requested him from the LORD.”

Unnamed Heroes


The unnamed people in Hebrews 11:32 are simply listed as the prophets, which would surely include the great names of Elijah, Elisha, Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel and others.

The faith these men possessed led them to action as described in verses 33 and 34 

Hebrews 11:33-34 (HCSB)33 who by faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the raging of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, gained strength after being weak, became mighty in battle, and put foreign armies to flight.

Faith helped some to govern and conquer kingdoms (David over the Philistines),

Faith helped others to administer justice;

1 Samuel 7:6 (HCSB) When they gathered at Mizpah, they drew water and poured it out in the LORD’s presence. They fasted that day, and there they confessed, “We have sinned against the LORD.” And Samuel judged the Israelites at Mizpah.

Faith helped others to gain what was promised


Joshua 21:43 (HCSB) So the LORD gave Israel all the land He had sworn to give their fathers, and they took possession of it and settled there.

Faith helped others to triumph over fearful odds---

Shut the mouths of lions

Daniel 6:22 (HCSB) My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths. They haven’t hurt me, for I was found innocent before Him. Also, I have not committed a crime against you my king.”

Quenched the fury of the flames

Daniel 3:26-27 (HCSB)26 Nebuchadnezzar then approached the door of the furnace of blazing fire and called: “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, you servants of the Most High God—come out!” So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out of the fire.27 When the satraps, prefects, governors, and the king’s advisers gathered around, they saw that the fire had no effect on the bodies of these men: not a hair of their heads was singed, their robes were unaffected, and there was no smell of fire on them. and

Escape the edge of the sword


2 Kings 6:16-18 (HCSB) 16 Elisha said, “Don’t be afraid, for those who are with us outnumber those who are with them.” 17 Then Elisha prayed, “LORD, please open his eyes and let him see.” So the LORD opened the servant’s eyes. He looked and saw that the mountain was covered with horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 18 When the Arameans came against him, Elisha prayed to the LORD, “Please strike this nation with blindness.” So He struck them with blindness, according to Elisha’s word.

Still others were enabled by faith to be mighty in battle---whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies

2 Samuel 23:8-39 list 37 men who were described as David’s Mighty Men.

Men aren't the only ones with faith although not mentioned by the writer, but other than Sarah and Rahab those are the only two women we've talked about so far.  Well we are going to have to wait until next week to talk about the other heroines.

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Faith - Session 4 - Heroes of Faith III




The Church of Divine Guidance (CDG) Sunday morning adult bible study group is in a study on faith. These posts are my notes for each session. Please study with us. You can participate by asking your questions or making comments in the comments below. We welcome your thoughts and prayers.
This is something that I read this week that I want to share with you. I forgot to record the name of the author so I can't tell you who wrote it.

Faith is not a vicarious experience. While others can help to bring us to Jesus, He calls our name and we must personally respond. Not just once, but every day, every moment. Faith is a door into an ongoing, intimate dynamic relationship with a living, loving God who, in Jesus Christ, has come to seek and save the lost. Jesus reminds us "You did not choose me but I chose you." (John 15:16)


Foundation Scripture


Hebrews 11:1-2 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. –

What two things does faith enable us to do?

  1. Faith enables us to realize that God does exist because we see His creation and realize that things that we see were created by Him who we can’t see but know that He exist. 
  2. Faith enables us to please God. 
Hebrews 11:3 (HCSB) By faith we understand that the universe was created by God’s command, so that what is seen has been made from things that are not visible.


Why is faith an essential part of our relationship with God?

Because without it we can’t please God

Hebrews 11:6 (NKJV) But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

What is the evidence that our faith is not irrational or blind faith?

Creation and the Word of God.

How do we grow in faith?


Through the Word of God

Romans 10:17 (NKJV) So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. 

Introduction


Last week we continued our study of the writer of Hebrew's heroes of faith. Week before last we talked about Abel, Enoch, and Noah. We said that they exhibited the nature or quality of faith.  Able showed  trust and loving acceptance of whatever God gave and he sacrificed the first of that. The nature of faith shown by Enoch is that it turns us from relying on human wisdom to God's revelation and walking in that revelation causes our faith to grow in intimacy. We learn from Noah that faith is persistent.

The other heroes in this chapter will show the variety of actions that can accompany faith. Remember one of the things that we said about faith is that to be really applied there needs to be some action. Belief alone is not enough because as it says in James that even the demons believe.

We started the study of these other heroes last week with Abraham and Sarah. Abraham believed God and left his kinfolk, his present comforts and prosperity, and, at the age of seventy-five, set out for Canaan, a land he had never visited and knew nothing about. He was even going to sacrifice Issac, the son that God promised Sarah and him in their old age because he believed that God would bring him back to life so that the promise of descendants without number would happen.

Sarah also believed, after some initial doubt, but regained her faith and she became a mother in her old age.

Now let’s look at some of  the other heroes of faith and their actions;

Isaac


Hebrews 11:20 (HCSB)  By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.
Isaac blessing Jacob

There are few examples of dramatic demonstrations of faith by Isaac, in the Bible but he was still able to, by faith, foresee their eventual character and role of his sons Esau and Jacob in God's plan. After he realized that he had been tricked into giving Jacob the blessing reserved for the first born he didn't change it and his blessings for both Jacob and Esau are exactly the way things turned out. It wasn't because of Isaac's blessing it was because he gave them in faith knowing that what God had promised Abraham would come to pass and through the son with the birthright.

Proverbs 16:9 (NKJV)  A man's heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.

Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in the covenant promise made to Abraham concerning things to come

Here is the blessing to Jacob;

Genesis 27:28-29 (HCSB)28 May God give to you— from the dew of the sky and from the richness of the land— an abundance of grain and new wine.29 May peoples serve you and nations bow down to you. Be master over your brothers; may your mother’s sons bow down to you. Those who curse you will be cursed, and those who bless you will be blessed.

Sounds much like the blessing that God gave to Abraham doesn't it especially the last part “Those who curse you will be cursed and those who bless you will be blessed” Jacob believed, had faith in God’s promise to bless the descendants of Abraham back in Genesis 12.

Here’s the blessing to Esau;

Genesis 27:39-40 (HCSB)39 Then his father Isaac answered him: Look, your dwelling place will be away from the richness of the land, away from the dew of the sky above.40 You will live by your sword, and you will serve your brother. But when you rebel, you will break his yoke from your neck.

Jacob


Hebrews 11:21 (HCSB) By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and he worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff.

As we know Jacob is quite an interesting person and his story includes deception and intrigue. He is a hero of the writer of Hebrews although he was not always such a great person.

Even though his twin brother Esau gave up his right as the first born, Isaac may not have gone along with it, Jacob and his mother devised a plan to deceive Isaac and get him to actually bestow the blessing reserved for the first born male on him rather than Esau. Because of that he had to run to his uncle to keep his brother from perhaps killing him. While there he met his match in the deception game. His uncle Laban. Laban got his 2 daughters married off and got years of work out of Jacob before he finally left in the dead of night with a wife, who be the way stole her father's household idols.


Back to the writer of Hebrews' point about Jacob.

Jacob had been made a promise by God and he believed and trusted Him to keep His word. So when it came time to bless Joseph’s children , who he claimed as his own, he blessed them in faith. Here's why;
Jacob's Dream (painting circa 1691 by Michael Willmann)

Genesis 28:10-15 (NKJV) 10 Now Jacob went out from Beersheba and went toward Haran. 11 So he came to a certain place and stayed there all night, because the sun had set. And he took one of the stones of that place and put it at his head, and he lay down in that place to sleep. 12 Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. 13 And behold, the LORD stood above it and said: "I am the LORD God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants. 14 Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed. 15 Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you." (Emphasis mine)


Here's the incident that the writer was referencing;

Genesis 48:13-14, 17-19 (HCSB)13 Then Joseph took them both—with his right hand Ephraim toward Israel’s left, and with his left hand Manasseh toward Israel’s right—and brought them to Israel.14 But Israel stretched out his right hand and put it on the head of Ephraim, the younger, and crossing his hands, put his left on Manasseh’s head, although Manasseh was the firstborn.17 When Joseph saw that his father had placed his right hand on Ephraim’s head, he thought it was a mistake and took his father’s hand to move it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s.18 Joseph said to his father, “Not that way, my father! This one is the firstborn. Put your right hand on his head.”19 But his father refused and said, “I know, my son, I know! He too will become a tribe, and he too will be great; nevertheless, his younger brother will be greater than he, and his offspring will become a populous nation.”
Jacob, Ephraim, and Manasseh (17th-century painting by Guercino)

Jacob, in his earlier years, often found it difficult to trust God, but with Joseph in Egypt, he saw the true relationship of Joseph's sons Manasseh and Ephraim in God's purposes much as his father Issac saw with him and Esau. By faith, he transferred the birthright from Manasseh, the firstborn, to Ephraim, the younger.

Joseph


Hebrews 11:22 (HCSB)  By faith Joseph, as he was nearing the end of his life, mentioned the exodus of the Israelites and gave instructions concerning his bones.

We know the story of Joseph who as a young boy had dreams that his older siblings and parents would someday honor him. I’m sure that he also heard from his father Jacob, the promise that God had made to his great grandfather Abraham, his grandfather Isaac, and his father that their descendants would by inherit the land where they living and that their descendants would be as numerous as the stars.

Joseph's life was filled with dramatic examples of the power of faith (read Genesis 37 and 39-43)

He was taken to Egypt and sold as a slave, was thrown into prison but God blessed him to become second only to Pharaoh. He believed God’s promise about Canaan and he made his brothers, who were in Egypt, at the time, promise to take his body to Canaan when God took them there and gave them the land.

Genesis 50:24-26 (HCSB)24 Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die, but God will certainly come to your aid and bring you up from this land to the land He promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”25 So Joseph made the sons of Israel take an oath: “When God comes to your aid, you are to carry my bones up from here.”26 Joseph died at the age of 110. They embalmed him and placed him in a coffin in Egypt.

Over 400 years later;

Exodus 13:19 (HCSB) Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, because Joseph had made the Israelites swear a solemn oath, saying, “God will certainly come to your aid; then you must take my bones with you from this place.”

Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph were not dreamers with vivid imaginations. They believe trusted God , and the lived their lives accordingly. Isaac in blessing conferring the blessing of the firstborn on Jacob rather than Esau and Jacob doing the same thing with Joseph’s sons, and finally Joseph in making his brothers promise to take his bones with them to Canaan.

Moses’s Parents


Hebrews 11:23 (HCSB) By faith, after Moses was born, he was hidden by his parents for three months, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they didn't fear the king’s edict.

Exodus 2:1-2 (HCSB)1 Now a man from the family of Levi married a Levite woman.2 The woman became pregnant and gave birth to a son; when she saw that he was beautiful, she hid him for three months.


This from the Ray Stedman commentary that I'm using for this study;


Two reasons are given for the faith of Moses' parents, shown in the hiding of their infant son among the reeds of the Nile. They saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king's edict. The adjective asteion translated here as "no ordinary" child, implies not merely a handsome or beautiful child, but a gifted and unusually promising one. Josephus, in his Antiquities, suggests that Moses' parents received a revelation from God concerning their son's destiny. This would explain why their action was by faith and strong enough that they were unafraid of the king's cruel command to kill all male Israelite babies. Since Jochebed, Moses' mother, was employed by Pharaoh's daughter to become Moses' nurse and help raise him to adulthood, the writer includes Moses' parents (Amram and Jochebed) as the molders of the faith of Moses himself.

So powerful was their influence on Moses that when he was forty years of age having been trained in the culture of Egypt and even regarded as an heir to the throne itself, he renounced his earthly privileges. He went on to identify himself with the people of Israel and resolutely refused the royal title son of Pharaoh's daughter (vv. 24-25). Stephen, in Acts 7:20-38, tells us that Moses "thought that his own people would realize that God was using him to rescue them, but they did not."

I think it is a very good point, and one for us to remember. Those of us who are parents or role models for young children can be major influences on the development of a child's view of God and eventually their faith.

Moses


Hebrews 11:24-26 (HCSB)24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter 25 and chose to suffer with the people of God rather than to enjoy the short-lived pleasure of sin.26 For he considered the reproach because of the Messiah to be greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, since his attention was on the reward..28 By faith he instituted the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn might not touch the Israelites.

Moses Identified with His Brothers


Exodus 2:11-15 (NKJV)11 Now it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out to his brethren and looked at their burdens. And he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his brethren.12 So he looked this way and that way, and when he saw no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.13 And when he went out the second day, behold, two Hebrew men were fighting, and he said to the one who did the wrong, "Why are you striking your companion?"14 Then he said, "Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you intend to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?" So Moses feared and said, "Surely this thing is known!"15 When Pharaoh heard of this matter, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh and dwelt in the land of Midian; and he sat down by a well.

Moses' actions suggest that he believed that he was called by God to deliver his people and having heard the promises of God, from his parents, that they would return to Canaan.   Motivated by faith he renounced his position in Egyptian royalty and identified with the slaves. By his actions in faith he gave up the treasures of Egypt to suffer disgrace not knowing the outcome but he believed God.

We have to make that choice sometimes too to be faithful and obedient to God rather than compromise for the prospect of advancement or wealth.   We will be talking about others later in the chapter who gave up much more by acting in faith, believing that God would deliver on His promises.


He Left Egypt


Hebrews 11:27 (HCSB)  By faith he left Egypt behind, not being afraid of the king’s anger, for Moses persevered as one who sees Him who is invisible.

Acts 7:25-28 (HCSB)25 He assumed his brothers would understand that God would give them deliverance through him, but they did not understand.26 The next day he showed up while they were fighting and tried to reconcile them peacefully, saying, ‘Men, you are brothers. Why are you mistreating each other?’27 “But the one who was mistreating his neighbor pushed him away, saying: Who appointed you a ruler and a judge over us?28 Do you want to kill me, the same way you killed the Egyptian yesterday?

Moses fled to save his life but he knew that God would keep his promise to deliver Israel so he waited in Midian for 40 years until he had an encounter with God;

Exodus 3:2 (HCSB) Then the Angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire within a bush. As Moses looked, he saw that the bush was on fire but was not consumed.

After the discussion with God about his ability to get Pharaoh to let his people go Moses acted in faith when he did go back and confronted Pharaoh.  He acted in faith when he announced the plagues and when and how they would end. Exodus 5-10


Passover


Hebrews 11:28 (HCSB) 28 By faith he instituted the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn might not touch the Israelites.

We know the story it’s in Exodus chapter 12

It was a crucial experience both for Israel and the church, as both look back to it as the pattern of redemption. The key was the sprinkling of the blood of a lamb over the doorpost of each Israelite household. The angel of death would not enter where he saw the sprinkled blood. Moses believed that this protection would work, and it did. This act of faith broke the back of Pharaoh and he begged  the Israelites to leave, even showering them with jewels and treasures to speed the process. 

The People


The people also believed and acted in faith by following the instructions. 

Why did the people believe?

They had seen the plagues that Moses announced and then stopped. They even experienced some of them but they were also shown that they were God's people because he spared them from the effects of the fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, plagues, with the tenth being the death of the first born son, for which provision was made with the Passover instructions. That's why they believed - evidence.

Crossing the Red Sea


Hebrews 11:29-30 (HCSB) By faith they crossed the Red Sea as though they were on dry land. When the Egyptians attempted to do this, they were drowned.

Exodus 14:21-22 (HCSB) 21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. The LORD drove the sea ⌊back⌋ with a powerful east wind all that night and turned the sea into dry land. So the waters were divided, 22 and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with the waters ⌊like⌋ a wall to them on their right and their left. .
Israel's faith was shown when they passed between the walls of water. Faith caused them and will cause us to obey despite apparent obstacles and difficulties. With God all things are possible, absolutely nothing is impossible.

We face circumstances where it looks as if there is no way out. But God's promise is to see us through.

1 Corinthians 10:13 (HCSB) 13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to humanity. God is faithful, and He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape so that you are able to bear it.

Jericho


Hebrews 11:30 (HCSB) By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after being encircled ⌊by the Israelites⌋ for seven days. There had actually be a severe lack of faith by the people after the remarkable Red Sea Act of faith. 

Anybody know what it was?

They refused to go in a conquer the land of Canaan. The land that God was giving them. Moses,sent in 12 scouts and they came back with this report ;

Numbers 13:32-33 (HCSB)32 So they gave a negative report to the Israelites about the land they had scouted: “The land we passed through to explore is one that devours its inhabitants, and all the people we saw in it are men of great size.33 We even saw the Nephilim there—the descendants of Anak ⌊come⌋ from the Nephilim! To ourselves we seemed like grasshoppers, and we must have seemed the same to them.”

Because of it not one Israelite who was twenty years or older when they left Egypt would enter Canaan, except Joshua and Caleb.

Now here they were forty years later. They were ready to enter the land that God had promised to them but they had to deal with the walled city of Jericho first.

Just as the faith of Moses had inspired faith in Israel while they were in Egypt and at the Red Sea, the faith of Joshua stirred them to act in faith at Jericho.

Following the strange orders given him by the angelic Commander of the Army of the Lord, Joshua set the people marching around the fortress, once a day for six days, and seven times the seventh day.

Joshua 5:13-14 (HCSB) 13 When Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in
The excavated walls of Jericho. From European Association of Biblical Archaeology blog
front of him with a drawn sword in His hand. Joshua approached Him and asked, “Are You for us or for our enemies?” 14 “Neither,” He replied. “I have now come as commander of the LORD’s army.” Then Joshua bowed with his face to the ground in worship and asked Him, “What does my Lord want to say to His servant?”

Joshua 6:2-5 (HCSB) 2 The LORD said to Joshua, “Look, I have handed Jericho, its king, and its fighting men over to you. 3 March around the city with all the men of war, circling the city one time. Do this for six days. 4 Have seven priests carry seven ram’s-horn trumpets in front of the ark. But on the seventh day, march around the city seven times, while the priests blow the trumpets. 5 When there is a prolonged blast of the horn and you hear its sound, have all the people give a mighty shout. Then the city wall will collapse, and the people will advance, each man straight ahead.”

Joshua 6:15-16 (HCSB)15 Early on the seventh day, they started at dawn and marched around the city seven times in the same way. That was the only day they marched around the city seven times.16 After the seventh time, the priests blew the trumpets, and Joshua said to the people, “Shout! For the LORD has given you the city.

When they gave a great shout on the seventh day, the walls came down.

Next week we are going to finish with the heroes of Hebrews 11. After that we are going to spend a couple of sessions on other biblical characters that I believe are faith heroes and then we are going to end with some non-biblical and more contemporary faith heroes.


Have a Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving and be sure that in addition to telling the Lord thank you for all things make your life one of constant thanksgiving. I'll see you next week. 



Monday, November 17, 2014

Faith - Session 3 - Heroes of Faith II




The Church of Divine Guidance (CDG) Sunday morning adult bible study group is in a study on faith.  These posts are my notes for each session. Please study with us. You can participate by asking your questions or making comments in the comments below. We welcome your thoughts and prayers.


This is one of my daily devotionals from last week and I think it is very appropriate for our bible study.

1 Peter 1:7 (HCSB)7 so that the genuineness of your faith—more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Faith untried may be true faith, but it is sure to be little faith, and it is likely to remain dwarfish so long as it is without trials. Faith never prospers so well as when all things are against her: tempests are her trainers, and lightnings are her illuminators. When a calm reigns on the sea, spread the sails as you will, the ship moves not to its harbour; for on a slumbering ocean the keel sleeps too. Let the winds rush howling forth, and let the waters lift up themselves, then, though the vessel may rock, and her deck may be washed with waves, and her mast may creak under the pressure of the full and swelling sail, it is then that she makes headway towards her desired haven. No flowers wear so lovely a blue as those which grow at the foot of the frozen glacier; no stars gleam so brightly as those which glisten in the polar sky; no water tastes so sweet as that which springs amid the desert sand; and no faith is so precious as that which lives and triumphs in adversity. Tried faith brings experience. You could not have believed your own weakness had you not been compelled to pass through the rivers; and you would never have known God's strength had you not been supported amid the water-floods. Faith increases in solidity, assurance, and intensity, the more it is exercised with tribulation. Faith is precious, and its trial is precious too. Let not this, however, discourage those who are young in faith. You will have trials enough without seeking them: the full portion will be measured out to you in due season. Meanwhile, if you cannot yet claim the result of long experience, thank God for what grace you have; praise Him for that degree of holy confidence whereunto you have attained: walk according to that rule, and you shall yet have more and more of the blessing of God, till your faith shall remove mountains and conquer impossibilities. - Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening


Foundation Scripture


Hebrews 11:1-2 (NKJV) Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. –

1. What two things does faith enable us to do?

  • Enables us to realize that God does exist because we see His creation and realize that things that we see were created by Him who we can’t see but know that He exist.
  • Faith enables us to please God.
Hebrews 11:3 (HCSB) By faith we understand that the universe was created by God’s command, so that what is seen has been made from things that are not visible.

2. Why is faint and essential part of our relationship with God?

Because without it we can’t please God

Hebrews 11:6 (NKJV) But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

3. What is the evidence that our faith is not irrational or blind faith?

Creation and the Word of God.

4. How do we grow in faith?

The Word of God

Romans 10:17 (NKJV) So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Last week we started our study of the heroes of faith as recorded in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews and we talked about the faith of Abel, Enoch and Noah.  They showed us the nature or quality of faith.

5.  Do you remember what they were?

With Able it was trust and loving acceptance of whatever God. We learn from Enoch is that faith means turning from human wisdom to God's revelation and walking in that revelation causes our faith to grow in intimacy. We learn from Noah that faith is persistent.

This Week - Actions of Faith


The folk we are going to talk about today, and probably next week or two, are going to show us the variety of actions that can accompany faith. These actions are not the usual ones that people would take under the same circumstances, and they show a belief that God will do what He says that He will do, no matter how it looks at the time.

As we have said a couple of times, in this study, it takes more than just belief.  Belief without action really doesn't have much effect.

James 2:19-20 (NKJV)19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe--and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?

Abraham


We start with Abraham who is the role model for all believers in Christ.

Hebrews 11:8-10 (HCSB) By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and went out to a place he was going to receive as an inheritance. He went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he
Abraham and Sarah
stayed as a foreigner in the land of promise, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, co-heirs of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

Living a life of faith has some risks.  Faith enabled Abraham to take an uncertain journey, not knowing where he was going.  He took that journey because God told him to do it.   Faith can enable us to take risks as well.   We can do it because we have example after example from the bible of people who obeyed God and He did what He said that He would do.  They obeyed even beyond the point of receiving the promise while they lived.  We have evidence from our own lives and the lives of others stepped out in their faith and belief in God  who achieved things we and they considerd impossible.  Because of this evidence we can even endure long periods of uncertainty,  for faith assures us that God's keeps His promises.

God promised Abraham a land, a posterity, a great name and universal influence

Genesis 12:1-3 (NKJV)1 Now the LORD had said to Abram: "Get out of your country, From your family And from your father's house, To a land that I will show you.2 I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing.3 I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."

Abraham believed God and left his family and comfortable surroundings, and, at the age of seventy-five, set out for Canaan, a land he had never visited and knew nothing about. When he got there he lived as a foreigner, never owning any property except the cave, where he buried his wife, Sarah. Toward the end of his life, Abraham said “I am a foreign resident among you. Give me a burial site among you so that I can bury my dead.”  Genesis 23:4 (HCSB)

We know a lot of stuff happened to Abraham while he was waiting on God.   God’s promise to Abraham still hasn't been completed.  The writer of  Hebrews says;

Hebrews 11:13 (HCSB) 13  These all died in faith without having received the promises, but they saw them from a distance, greeted them, and confessed that they were foreigners and temporary residents on the earth.

Abraham still waited. There were times where he got off track and wavered but he still believed God and waited.  Read Abraham's full story in Genesis chapters 12 through 25.  It is a fascinating story of a life of faith. 

Sarah


We are going to talk more about Abraham but let's talk about his wife Sarah now.  When Abraham obeyed God and left his family and familiar surroundings so did Sarah.  The writer of Hebrews list her in this list of heroes of faith along with Abraham.

Hebrews 11:11-12 (HCSB)11 By faith even Sarah herself, when she was unable to have children, received power to conceive offspring, even though she was past the age, since she considered that the One who had promised was faithful.12 Therefore from one man—in fact, from one as good as dead—came offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven and as innumerable as the grains of sand by the seashore.

This is a great example for us because when Sarah first heard that she and Abraham was going to have a baby  in their old ages, she doubted, laughed, and then lied.

Genesis 18:12-15 (HCSB)12 So she laughed to herself: “After I have become shriveled up and my lord is old, will I have delight?”13 But the LORD asked Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘Can I really have a baby when I’m old?’14 Is anything impossible for the LORD? At the appointed time I will come back to you, and in about a year she will have a son.”15 Sarah denied it. “I did not laugh,” she said, because she was afraid. But He replied, “ No, you did laugh.”

Before we get too hard on Sarah, Abraham laughed too. Go to Genesis 17:17-18 (HCSB)17 Abraham fell facedown. Then he laughed and said to himself, “Can a child be born to a hundred-year-old man? Can Sarah, a ninety-year-old woman, give birth?”18 So Abraham said to God, “If only Ishmael were acceptable to You!”

Yes Sarah doubted at first but her doubts were overcome.  Faith enabled her, even as an old woman, to receive the promise of giving birth to a child.

We often have initial doubts too but we can overcome them by our faith.  

Sarah even tried to help God but that didn't work out.

Genesis 16:1-4 (HCSB)1 Abram’s wife Sarai had not borne any children for him, but she owned an Egyptian slave named Hagar.2 Sarai said to Abram, “Since the LORD has prevented me from bearing children, go to my slave; perhaps through her I can build a family.” And Abram agreed to what Sarai said.3 So Abram’s wife Sarai took Hagar, her Egyptian slave, and gave her to her husband Abram as a wife for him. ⌊This happened⌋ after Abram had lived in the land of Canaan 10 years.4 He slept with Hagar, and she became pregnant. When she realized that she was pregnant, she treated her mistress with contempt.

They had to wait several more years but finally, when Abraham was 100 and Sarah 90 then came the miracle.

Genesis 21:1-3 (HCSB)1 The LORD came to Sarah as He had said, and the LORD did for Sarah what He had promised.2 Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the appointed time God had told him.3 Abraham named his son who was born to him—the one Sarah bore to him—Isaac.

6.  What subtle irony about the power of faith comes out in this story of faith?

That something useless in the sight of man can with faith in God become something that saves lives or changes lives and or circumstances.

The example to us is that even when we have an initial doubt that doesn't mean that we have no faith.  Sarah and Abraham are examples.  After some initial doubt their faith quickly removes that doubt.  Why because of the evidence that what God had promised in the past He had done.   We believe and trust that what He has promised for the future He will also do.   

7.  In the first session of this study we asked the question what can we do when we don't think we have enough faith?  What was the answer?

The answer was to ask;

Mark 9:23-24 (HCSB) 23  Then Jesus said to him, “‘If You can’? Everything is possible to the one who believes.” 24  Immediately the father of the boy cried out, “I do believe! Help my unbelief.”

James 1:5 (HCSB)  Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him. 

The Ultimate Test of Abraham’s Faith


Hebrews 11:17-19 (HCSB)17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac. He received the promises and he was offering his unique son,18 the one it had been said about, Your seed will be traced through Isaac.19 He considered God to be able even to raise someone from the dead, and as an illustration, he received him back.
Abraham and Isaac

We know the story but let’s go to Genesis.  One day God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac to Him.  To sacrifice the son that God had promised to Abraham and through who mankind would be blessed and whose descendants would inherit the land that was promised.   God said sacrifice him.  Again Abraham obeyed and went about doing what God commanded him to do.  Here are a couple of telling things from Abraham's comments during this time.

Genesis 22:5 (HCSB) Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey. The boy and I will go over there to worship; then we’ll come back to you.”

Genesis 22:10-14 (HCSB)10 Then Abraham reached out and took the knife to slaughter his son.11 But the Angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” He replied, “Here I am.”12 Then He said, “Do not lay a hand on the boy or do anything to him. For now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your only son from Me.” 13 Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught in the thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram and offered it as a burnt offering in place of his son.14 And Abraham named that place The LORD Will Provide, so today it is said: “It will be provided on the LORD’s mountain.”

You can see from these comments why the writer of Hebrews said what he did about Abraham's faith in verses 17-19.  His faith in God gave him the confidence that no matter what happened things would work out so that he would have more descendants  that could be numbered  from Isaac,  and that mankind would be blessed through him. 

It was Abraham's highest hour. God had tried his heart and was satisfied. -  The Wycliffe Bible Commentary.

8.  How did faith affect Abraham’s life?

Because he believed God,  He obeyed Him and left a place and people where he was  comfortable to go where he had never been. He gave up his inheritance there. But along the way he became very wealthy, and with many heirs culminating in Jesus Christ.

The ultimate test was to obey God's command to sacrifice this son of his old age who God has promised would be his heir creating a legacy of descendants, that couldn't be numbered, and by whom mankind would be blessed. Because God had done what He had told Abraham He would do in the past Abraham believe that even if he did sacrifice Isaac son that God could and would make good on His promises. The writer of Hebrews says that Abraham believed that God would resurrect Isaac.

Abraham is mentioned 251 times in the New King James Old and New Testaments. 71 times in the New Testament alone.

Sarah is mentioned 42 times, 4 times in the New Testament and 3 of those times are in reference to her faith for the birth of Isaac.

Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham and Sarah Did Not Receive the Promise of a Homeland.  


Hebrews 11:13-16 (HCSB)13 These all died in faith without having received the promises, but they saw them from a distance, greeted them, and confessed that they were foreigners and temporary residents on the earth.14 Now those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a homeland.15 If they were thinking about where they came from, they would have had an opportunity to return.16 But they now desire a better place—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.

Here is the key to why they died without receiving the promise.  God is waiting for those of us who, by faith,  have accepted His gift of salvation given to us because we have believed in Jesus.

This is from the Wycliffe Bible Commentary:

They lived in anticipation of the new covenant, but without its full provisions. They had a positive and effective witness, a good report through faith, or as in the CGT, having been borne witness to through their faith, an attestation by God himself.

God unveiled a better plan, or at least a more complete plan, in the generations after the patriarchs and particularly regarding the generations since Calvary. Perfection had to await these generations, that they without us should not be made perfect (teleiōthōsin, teleioō, "to make perfect, or complete"). The whole of the completed redemption is in view.

Each of the people mentioned in this chapter illustrates some phase or aspect of the life of faith—whether obedience, acting on promises of things to come, separation from the world system (Moses), or some other. But the writer still has not completed his argument concerning the superiority of the life of faith over the practice of Mosaic legalism. One example remains, the Lord Jesus Christ. The final phase of the argument by example culminates in the "consider him" statement of Heb 12:3. Having considered all of these other witnesses, the readers are now to "consider him that endured... lest ye be weary and faint in your minds."

The following is from a commentary that I am using for this study written by Ray C. Stedman.  I think it captures the what the writer of Hebrews was expressing to his readers about Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham and Sarah. 

They expected God to fulfill his word to them. The fact that they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance indicates their understanding that the promises were in the future and would have spiritual as well as physical fulfillment. For this reason, their own imminent deaths did not diminish their confidence that the promises would be fulfilled. This lively faith was shown by their willingness to abide as aliens and strangers in the land they had been promised.

Though he and his son and grandsons could have returned to Mesopotamia had they so chosen, as Jacob did for a while, (when he ran after tricking his father into giving him the blessing of the first born who Esau ) yet their faith in the promise of their own land not only kept them in Canaan, but also led them to understand that eventually they would live in that city of God which would come down from heaven. Because their faith grew to encompass eternal realities as well as earthly prospects, the writer declares that God is not ashamed to be called their God. Once again we see the deliberate link between the visible and the invisible. We cannot demand instant answers from God for all our earthly problems, but we can welcome them from a distance. We must not lose faith that God will satisfy every promise.


9.  How does the promise of a heavenly country help us to keep our faith, even when we don't see our hopes fulfilled immediately?

Because we know that God will keep His promises.

Jeremiah 29:11 (HCSB) For I know the plans I have for you”—⌊this is⌋ the LORD’s declaration—“plans for ⌊your⌋ welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

Deuteronomy 31:6 (HCSB) Be strong and courageous; don’t be terrified or afraid of them. For it is the LORD your God who goes with you; He will not leave you or forsake you.”

Hebrews 13:5 (HCSB) Your life should be free from the love of money. Be satisfied with what you have, for He Himself has said, I will never leave you or forsake you.


Next Week 


Next we will continue our study of the heroes of faith in chapter 11. So read it again and do some research on them. We will be looking at Moses' parents, Moses, the Israelites themselves,  Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, and Rahab.  

I have some others that I believe are heroes of faith that the writer of Hebrews doesn't include.   There’s Joshua and Caleb, Esther, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego, Daniel, Nehemiah, Job, Elijah, Hezekiah, and Ruth. That’s just some from the Old Testament, there are lots in the new Testament, including the apostles, and others. We won’t talk about all of them but if I don’t mention one that you think is a hero mention him or her and we’ll talk about them and how they are an example that we can follow in our faith walk. 

Be thinking about about people who are not in the Bible that you would put in a Faith Hall.

If you have any questions about faith or want to share your experiences please leave a comment.  I will respond to each comment right away.  We look forward to you studying with us.    

The Bible is your main resource during the study but here are some others that may interest you. 





Monday, November 10, 2014

Faith - Session 2 - Heroes of Faith



The Church of Divine Guidance (CDG) Sunday morning adult bible study group is in a study of faith. These posts are my notes for each session. Please study with us. You can participate by asking your questions or making comments in the comments below. We welcome your thoughts and prayers.

Foundation Scripture

Hebrews 11:1-2 New King James Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. –

Review

Our foundation scripture is the biblical description of faith - evidence and substance

The dictionary defines faith as:

  1. complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
  2. strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.
synonyms: trust, belief, confidence, conviction, religion, church, sect, religious denomination, belief, ideology, creed, teaching, doctrine

The word "substance" or "assurance". The Greek word hypostasis (hoop-os'-tas-is) literally means "a standing under, support" (W.E. Vine, An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words)  "Faith," in relation to hope, is assurance. It stands under and supports our hope. Thus, one's hope is only as secure as his faith is strong.

Dictionary definition for substance:
  1. a particular kind of matter with uniform properties
  2. the real physical matter of which a person or thing consists and which has a tangible, solid presence.

The term "evidence" or "conviction"

The Greek word elenchos (el'-eng-kho) is defined as a "proof, proving" test.

Dictionary definition of evidence:

the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.


Last week we said that faith is an essential part of our relationship with God do you remember why?

Because without it we can’t please God

Hebrews 11:6 (NKJV) But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Because if we don't believe in Him and believe Him, we won't really be trying to please Him! 
 

We also asked if our faith or belief was rational or irrational what did we decide?

It is based on evidence of the creation and the Word of God.


Who’s the source of our faith?

God is;

Ephesians 2:8-9 (NKJV)8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 


What can we do if we don’t think we have enough faith?

Ask

Mark 9:23-24 (NKJV)23 Jesus said to him, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes."24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!"

James 1:5 (NKJV) If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 


How do you grow in faith?

By and through the Word of God

Romans 10:17 (NKJV) So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. 


Is believing in God enough?

Believing is an integral part of our relationship in God but for it to really be faith we have to act on that belief.

James 2:19-20 (NKJV)19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe--and tremble!20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?

Today we start a discussion of the Hebrews 11 "The heroes of faith"


In Hebrews 11, the phrase “by faith” occurs 22 times in the HCSB.

The first heroes, Abel, Enoch and Noah, show us the nature or qualities of faith. With Abel it was trust and loving acceptance of whatever God sent and he sacrificed the first of that. We learn from Enoch that faith grows in intimacy. We learn from Noah that faith is persistent.

The Qualities of Faith - Waiting, Intimacy, Persistence 

Abel

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.
Abel's Sacrifice 


Genesis 4:2-4 2 Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. 3 And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. 4 Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering,

From Barnes' Notes on the Bible

In the account in Genesis of the offering made by Abel, there is no mention of "faith". The account in Genesis is, simply, that Abel "brought of the firstlings of his flock, and the fat thereof, and that the Lord had respect to Abel and his offering." Men have speculated much as to the reason why the offering of Abel was accepted, and that of Cain rejected but there is no specific mention of what, if anything was an issue with Cain's sacrifice itself. It could not have been because an offering of the fruits of the ground was not pleasing to God, for such an offering was commanded under the Jewish Law, and was not in itself improper. Both the brothers selected what was to them most obvious and which they regarded as most valuable.

The only hint might be, and this is only conjecture, that Abel is said to, have offered his firstlings and the fat thereof, while nothing is said of Cain having brought his first fruits or his best.  

So can we say that Abel exhibited his faith by the attitude in which he gave his sacrifice.  He gave the best that he had and because of his attitude of thanksgiving for what God had given him he and God response was His regard for Abel first and then for Abel's sacrifice.  Verse 4 of Genesis 4 says "..And the Lord respected Abel and his offering."  The offering was accepted because God first respected Abel and because he was accepted so was his offering.   

A explanation for the example of Abel as a hero of faith is that he was willing to wait for ultimate vindication of injustice and mistreatment. His faith teaches us that we must often wait for God' to execute His plan in our lives. We do so because we know God will act.

More mentions of Abel

Matthew 23:35 (HCSB) So all the righteous blood shed on the earth will be charged to you, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. 

Note:   (Abel to Zacharias includes all the murders recorded in the OT, from the first book (Gen 4:8) to the last in the Hebrew canon (2 Chr 24:20-22)). The Wycliffe Bible Commentary.

Luke 11:51 (HCSB) from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. “Yes, I tell you, this generation will be held responsible.

Hebrews 12:24 (NKJV) to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.

Enoch

Hebrews 11:5 (HCSB) By faith Enoch was taken away so he did not experience death, and he was not to be found because God took him away. For prior to his removal he was approved, since he had pleased God.
Enoch Taken Up


Genesis 5:21-24 (HCSB)21 Enoch was 65 years old when he fathered Methuselah.22 And after the birth of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years and fathered ⌊other⌋ sons and daughters.23 So Enoch’s life lasted 365 years.24 Enoch walked with God; then he was not there because God took him.

In Genesis 5 a brief discussion of the life of Enoch is dropped into a section which provides little more about the men mentioned other than their names how long the lived before "begetting" a son and then living some more years and then he died.  So there must be something different about Enoch.

Two important things mark the character of Enoch's faith: (1) he pleased God by turning away from the godlessness of the world in which he lived and (2) he maintained a daily walk with God which grew so intimate that he was taken to heaven without experiencing death. What's interesting is that it appears that Enoch may not have walked with God for the first 65 years of his life.  The Scripture says that after Methuselah was born then Enoch walked with God.  What caused the change?  A word from God!

The following is from IVP New Testament Commentary Series by Ray C. Stedman

Some scholars derive the meaning of Methuselah from the Hebrew root muth, which means "death," and translate the name "His death shall bring (it)." This would imply a revelation to Enoch of the coming judgment of the world by means of the Flood. The chronology of Genesis 5 places the Flood as occurring the year Methuselah died.

This turn in his life was a result of faith, and since faith always requires a word from God to rest upon, it confirms the idea that Enoch was given a revelation of a coming judgment which changed his life. So it appears that Enoch got a word from God and he believed and acted on it.

Because of this Jude calls Enoch a prophet.

Jude 14-15 (HCSB)14 And Enoch, in the seventh ⌊generation⌋ from Adam, prophesied about them: Look! The Lord comes with thousands of His holy ones 15 to execute judgment on all and to convict them of all their ungodly acts that they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things ungodly sinners have said against Him.


The quality of faith we learn from Enoch is that faith means turning from human wisdom to God's revelation and walking in daily obedience to it until it leads to a fellowship which death cannot interrupt! It grows in intimacy.

More mentions of Enoch

1 Chronicles 1:3 where he is mentioned in the genealogy  from Adam to Abraham and in Luke 3:37 in the genealogy of Jesus

Noah

Hebrews 11:7 (HCSB) By faith Noah, after he was warned about what was not yet seen and motivated by godly fear, built an ark to deliver his family. By faith he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

We know the story of Noah.  We know that he lived in a very wicked time.  So wicked that that the Bible says;
Noah

Genesis 6:5-8 (HCSB) 5 When the LORD saw that man’s wickedness was widespread on the earth and that every scheme his mind thought of was nothing but evil all the time,  6 the LORD regretted that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.  7 Then the LORD said, “I will wipe off from the face of the earth mankind, whom I created, together with the animals, creatures that crawl, and birds of the sky—for I regret that I made them.”8 Noah, however, found favor in the sight of the LORD.

God told Noah to build an ark so that mankind would be saved along with the animals and He gave him instructions in verses 14-21. Then verse 22 reads;

Genesis 6:22 (HCSB) And Noah did this. He did everything that God had commanded him.

He believed what God said about a flood and He did what God told him to do.

The quality of faith exhibited by Noah is that faith is persistent.

How is that shown in Noah?

God told him to do something that would not happen for many years.  Some people say that the 120 years in Genesis 6:3 is the number of years after God told Noah to build the ark before it rained.

We can imagine the jeering which Noah must have have had to deal with he built a huge ship. He was a hundred miles from the nearest ocean, with a ship many times too big for his own needs, and when had had finished, he filled it with animals!

What would be an example today of the kind of sight that must have been?

Noah's faith persisted despite massive resistance, and that can only occur when there is an inward change of spirit that is caused by the presence of God.  Because Noah believed God and continued even though his contemporaries keep on with their wickedness he did in fact condemn the world.

Noah is the first person to be called righteous in the Scriptures.
Genesis 6:9 (HCSB) These are the family records of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among his contemporaries; Noah walked with God. 

More mentions of Noah after the flood account

  • 1 Chronicles 1:4 in the linage from Adam to Abraham; 
  • in Ezekiel chapter 14 where Noah, Daniel, and Job are cited as examples of righteous men who would be the only survivors of God’s judgement on an idolatrous land; 
  • in Matthew 24 and Luke 17 when the Pharisees asked Jesus when the Kingdom of God was coming and He told them that it would not be something where you could say look there it is. It would be like in the days of Noah when the people went on doing their normal things and then it started to rain and then it was too late. 

 Then in Luke 3:36 in the genealogy of  Jesus.

Next week 

Next we will continue our study of the heroes of faith in chapter 11. So read it again and do some research on them. You already know a lot about Abraham and Sarah but you may not know as much about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, and Rahab.  

I have some others that I believe are heroes of faith that the writer of Hebrews doesn’t include.   There’s Joshua and Caleb, Esther, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego, Daniel, Nehemiah, Job, Elijah, Hezekiah, and Ruth. That’s just some from the Old Testament, there are lots in the new Testament, including the apostles, and others. We won’t talk about all of them but if I don’t mention one that you think is a hero mention him or her and we’ll talk about them and how they are an example that we can follow in our faith walk. 

Be thinking about about people who are not in the Bible that you would put in a Faith Hall.   Here are a few that I found in Stedman's commentary, Billy Graham, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Jr. I'm sure that you can think of others.






Sunday, November 2, 2014

Faith - Session 1 - The Introduction



The Church of Divine Guidance (CDG) Sunday morning adult bible study group is in a study of faith.  These posts are my notes for each session.  Please study with us.  You can participate by asking your questions or making comments in the comments below.  We welcome your thoughts and prayers.

Introduction

Foundation Scripture

Hebrews 11:1

HCSB Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen.

NKJ Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Amplified Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, [a]the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]. -

NIV Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

The Message Bible The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see.

New Living Translation Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.

These verses, using different words in the different versions give a description of faith but what does the word faith mean?

The Greek word used by the writer is is pistis which primarily is “firm persuasion”, a conviction based upon hearing and it is used in the New Testament always of faith in God or Christ, or in things spiritual. As I mentioned last week it is used, depending on the version, 244 to 254 times in the New Testament.

"The main sense of the word 'faith' in the NT is that of trust or reliance not just faithfulness but of the reliance and trust that’s the reason of our faithfulness. For example we are faithful because we are confident in God’s faithfulness (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, 1982, article, "Faith").

It is the same word used of trust as in (read the word faith as trust);

  • Romans 3:25 (NKJV) whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 
  • 1 Corinthians 2:5 (NKJV) that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. 
There are two Hebrew words translated faith in english ēmûn (pronounced a ay-moon) used once in Deuteronomy 32:20 (NKJV) And He said: 'I will hide My face from them, I will see what their end will be, For they are a perverse generation, Children in whom is no faith.

The other word is emûnâ (pronounced em-oo-naw'). That is the word used in Habakkuk 2:4 (NKJV) "Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him; But the just shall live by his faith.

The dictionary defines faith as:

  • complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
  • strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.
synonyms: trust, belief, confidence, conviction, religion, church, sect, religious denomination, belief, ideology, creed, teaching, doctrine


The Bible says that without faith we can't please God and that the goal of our faith is salvation. God wants us to have living faith so we can grow in our relationship with Him.

So what is faith, and how do we receive it and grow in it?


We're going to talk about that today.

Go to Acts 8:34-37 (NKJV)34 So the eunuch answered Philip and said, "I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?"35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him.36 Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, "See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?"37 Then Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may." And he answered and said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."

You may remember this story which begins at verse 26. It's the story of an Ethiopian eunuch, a high official under Queen Candace, who was reading the book of Isaiah but was confused. He went to Jerusalem to worship so he apparently believed the Bible and followed God but he didn't know about Jesus. God sent Philip to explain and to help him take the next steps in his relationship with God.

After Philip explained the meaning of Isaiah the Ethiopian asked who Isaiah was talking about, then Philip preached Jesus to him using the Scriptures.

The Ethiopian eunuch demonstrated his belief—his faith—in Jesus and was ready for the next step in his growing relationship with God.p

We all probably have a story similar to this where we exercised our belief (or faith) in Jesus. Do you have a story to share?


Mine was that when watching the 700 Club (remember it was on the Christian Broadcasting Network before ABC bought them and it became ABC Family network) many years ago I was prompted to call the 800 number and was lead to Christ by a lady on the phone.  Now I had confessed and repeated the "Sinner's Prayer" as a child of ten I think but that was what I call "said faith" not "saving faith"  we will probably talk about the difference during this series but that was my Ethiopian eunuch moment.  What's yours?

What Is Faith?

Faith is an essential part of our relationship with God.


Hebrews 11:6 (NKJV) But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Without faith we can't please God , because if we don't believe in Him and believe Him, we won't really be trying to please Him! 

 That’s why people who live by faith and followers of Jesus are called believers.


How does the Bible describe faith?


We talked about it before;

 Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV) Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

  • Faith goes beyond what we can see with our physical senses, so it does not work by the rules of science. 
  • Faith allows us to believe that the invisible God can do what is physically impossible. 
  • Faith is built and grows on a spiritual plane, not a physical or scientific one. 

But that doesn't mean observation, science and rational thinking aren't part of how we come to believe in God in the first place. In fact, there is no contradiction or conflict between godly faith and true science. After all, since God is the Creator of everything, science is the study of God's creation.


Is our belief in God based on a rational foundation is it unreasonable?

No it is not unreasonable or irrational  because Hebrews 11:1 says that faith is evidence so what is the evidence?



The first piece of evidence to support our faith is the world itself, The world or universe is the first and general revelation of God to man. The very existence of the universe, its power, order, and complexity demand that a Being sufficient to produce it, i.e., God, must be behind it

Romans 1:20 (NKJV) 20  For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,


The second piece of evidence is the Word (the Bible)

Romans 10:17 (NKJV) So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (some versions say word of Christ).

From nature we can only know that there is a God, that He has unlimited power and intelligence, and that He possesses will. 

But what is He like? Is He good or bad? loving or hating? kind or cruel? What does He want from me? How can I enjoy His fellowship? 

The word (i.e., the Bible) not only tells me about God, it gives evidence to demonstrate that there is a God, that the Bible is the word of God, and that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Some of these powerful proofs are the harmony of the Scriptures, fulfilled prophecies both about ancient nations and about Christ, and the evidence Christ has been raised from, the dead.

These two pieces of evidence, the world and the word, give ample reason for a firm, reasonable conviction that there is a God in heaven, that the Bible is His word, and that Jesus Christ is His Son.

God's way is rational, and He wants us to test it out and prove that it works.


1 Thessalonians 5:21 (NKJV) Test all things; hold fast what is good.

But there is more to faith than what we process in our rational brains. There is a spiritual and emotional component that is a gift from God and grows as our relationship with God grows.

The guiding principle of the Christian life is faith.


True Biblical faith has God as its object. We believe God and trust His Word. That Word does not tell us that we have any reason to expect to be the richest. It fact it tells us, on the contrary, that we will have tribulations and that as Jesus’ disciples we will have crosses to bear. It assures us, however, of grace to bear them.

Faith has a backward look. It points to what God has done in the past. Faith also looks forward. It declares that He can be trusted for the future..Faith is the firm assurance, the conviction, that God will do what He has promised to do.

It would, of course, be presumption to insist that He must do what WE want done. Many Christians grow disillusioned in their Christian lives because God does not conform to their wills. Faith takes God at His word; faith does not insist that He conform to our ideas.  True Bible faith is confident obedience to God's Word in spite of circumstances and consequences

Faith is also the principle by which Christians live. 


From the time a person first considers the evidence for his faith; the creation and then the word, then confesses as in Romans 10:9-10, then grows daily in knowledge, wisdom, and understanding of the Lord's will, lives a holy life, becomes spiritually mature, and develops a character more and more like Jesus, until finally, they die and go to be with the Lord, every step they take that is pleasing to God is a step taken in faith. Every step taken without faith is sin. "For we walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Cor. 5:7). While faith requires being convinced that what we believe in is true, just knowing the truth is only half of faith. God's word must be hoped for, embraced, and acted upon.

Who is the source of this faith we are talking about?


Ephesians 2:8-9 (NKJV)8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

That initial faith is a gift of God and, also a fruit that comes through the Holy Spirit.

Galatians 5:22 (KJV) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

What can we do if we don't have enough faith?


Here’s and example of someone who recognized that they had a lack of faith.

Mark 9:23-24 (NKJV)23 Jesus said to him, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes."24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!"

The father realized that there was a lack of faith there so he asked Jesus to help him with that lack. We have faith in God so we believe that when we ask Him for something that is in His will (which we find in his Word) that He will give it to us.

Matthew 7:7 (NKJV) "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

James 1:5 (NKJV) If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.


How do you grow in faith?


Let’s go back to Romans 10:17 (NKJV) So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of
God.

Hearing and studying the Word of God can help us see God's faithfulness in the past and His solid promises for the future.

Is believing in God enough?


James 2:19 (NKJV) You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe--and tremble!

Minister Brenda’s example about the lady who was told by her doctor that if she just ate healthy food and drank water or juice she would live and not die but that she had to do it within 12 hours. She was given food and drink and she kept confessing that she knew that if she ate the food and drank the water she would not die. She confessed that up until the 12th hour but never ate or drank and she died. So just believing wasn't enough she had to act on her belief. So just as James says the demons believe in God and they tremble.  They don't act on that belief by obeying, in fact they rebel, so consequently they will receive eternal damnation.

For belief to be faith, it must stand on what is true. God requires belief and trust in moments of human weakness, but faith is what makes us strong. Faith is the state of being convinced about what we hope for.

God wants us to believe in Him. God also wants us to believe what He says. He wants us to diligently seek Him, which is done through prayer, Bible study, meditation and fasting.


What is dead faith?



Matthew 7:21 (NKJV)  "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.

James 2:20 (NKJV)  But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?

Just calling Jesus our Master isn't enough, and just saying we have faith isn't enough. Our growing belief in God will motivate us to strive to obey God—to do His will and obey commandments which are to love God and love our neighbor. Dead faith is belief with no actions to show conviction in that belief. Just like the lady who didn't eat within 12 hours.


What is living faith?


Let’s read that entire section of James;

James 2:14-26 (NKJV)14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food,16 and one of you says to them, "Depart in peace, be warmed and filled," but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.18 But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe--and tremble!20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar?22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." And he was called the friend of God.24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.25 Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

What James is saying here is that there is genuine faith which is backed up by works and there is empty faith which is really not faith at all. The works James is talking about are not done apart from faith but done in faith, they are not done instead of faith but done because of faith. He doesn't say, “I will show you my works instead of faith.” He wants to show of both faith and works. What James wants is for believers to have faith that works. Works are the evidence of genuine salvation. They are the proof. Works are the obvious, visible results of being justified by faith. Authentic “saving faith” reveals itself by works. Real, living faith motivates our actions.


Apply Now


"So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17). One good way to grow in faith is to study the examples of faith recorded in the Bible and we are going to talk about some of them over the next few weeks. Especially focus on God's promises of love, protection and faithfulness in;


Psalm 33:4 (NKJV) For the word of the LORD is right, And all His work is done in truth.

Psalm 37:28 (NKJV) For the LORD loves justice, And does not forsake His saints; They are preserved forever, But the descendants of the wicked shall be cut off.;

Psalm 97:10 (NKJV) You who love the LORD, hate evil! He preserves the souls of His saints; He delivers them out of the hand of the wicked.;

Proverbs 2:8 (NKJV) He guards the paths of justice, And preserves the way of His saints. ; and

2 Thessalonians 3:3 (NKJV) But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one.

Romans 8:28 (NKJV) And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.;

Philippians 4:7 (NKJV) and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. ;

Philippians 4:13 (NKJV) I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.; and,

Hebrews 13:5-6 (NKJV)5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."6 So we may boldly say: "The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?".

Write out at least one of these scriptures and put it in your wallet or somewhere else to keep it with you and reread occasionally

Next Session: Faith Heroes

We’ll be talking about all of those mentioned in Hebrews 11, so you may want to read that chapter and then read about them in other places in the Bible. A place to start is to look in your concordance, if you have one, find the name then go to the Scriptures where they are mentioned. 

If you have any questions about faith or want to share your experiences please leave a comment.  I will respond to each comment right away.  We look forward to you studying with us.    

The Bible is your main resource during the study but here are some other resources that may interest you.



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