One of the best passages I have found to urge me to continue on is Heb 11:13.
So I thought I would share some things this morning concerning faith.
I suppose a simple definition of faith is just continuing to do what we know God requires of us regardless of what the circumstances are.
Christian faith starts in Hebrews 10:
Vv. 22, 23
We must draw near to God in the proper manner. This means that the faith that many claim to have IS NOT the Christian faith.
V. 21, the Christian faith in the Christian God starts with conversion and humility. It starts with the full assurance that we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ
A true heart is required to draw near to God. We must draw near to God without anger, bitterness, hatred, hypocrisy.
As we will see, Hebrews 12:15, implies that one danger is getting bitter at the Lord because he does not move according to our timetable nor according to our wishful thinking.
These things lurking in the heart not only cut us off from the prayer hearing and answering God, but they destroy those who harbor these sins.
V. 22, the full assurance of faith is confident that the Lord hears and answers prayer, Heb. 11:6.
V. 22, the conscience must be cleansed by the blood of Christ and forgiven sins, 1 Jn 1:9.
V. 23, Hold fast. The Christian life is a life of faith, without wavering. That is, the Christian life is a continual trial of our faith. Will we live God's way or our way, and God's way is not the easy way.
Christianity is a warfare against an enemy who knows our weaknesses and strengths. He obviously does not attack us in our strengths, but in our weak points.
V. 23, the standard for faithfulness is God's faithfulness to his promises.
Vv. 24, 25
12:1, notice how susceptible we are to things that hinder our continuance in faith. We are warned that there are many things that get us sidetracked from what we should be.
One of the most important things we can do to keep from falling away from the Lord is the public assembly. The word of God is clear --- we must have encouragement from others as we go about our Christian life.
The public assembly is a great help and privilege, and a good means of remaining faithful to our Christian profession. I have found that the public assembly is most often the first thing to go when people fall away. Maybe a preacher or another person in the church made them mad. Maybe a preacher fell into sin, and the people should have parted company with that church. When folks remain apart from the public assembly, it is almost impossible to get them back again.
The problem is that when they have their eyes on the faithfulness of people, those people will fail. The problem is that they looked to the wrong standard for their faith, Hebrews 12:2, 3.
10:25, The day approaching referred to the then soon coming destruction of the Jewish nation. However, it applies for our day also, as we see God's judgment moving against the nations that have forgotten him.
I will just say this about that section: Those who feel that Christ exempts them from the evil results of their sins according to the law of Moses are very greatly mistaken.
The Author of Hebrews calls upon these Christians to remember the very first days of Christianity. In fact, Paul himself, who obviously wrote this section, was one who sought to kill the early Christians.
From v. 32-39, there are at least 6 references to fact that faith is not justified by circumstances. In other words, the word of God promises one thing, but circumstances and feelings say something else:
32 But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions; 33 Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used. 34 For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance. 35 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. 36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. 37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. 38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. 39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.Confidence in the Lord when things appear as we desire is not faith. Faith is continuing on according to God's word when everything goes against us. Romans 8:24, 25.
Hebrews 11:1, the Spirit tells us that faith is the proof we need that God's word is true. The truth of God's word is not tested according to feelings nor circumstances, but according to our confidence in his word.
Hebrews 11 is rightly called the "roll call of faith." However, most of the ones listed lived to see the results of their faith.
Hebrews 11:13 talks of the ones who did not live to see their faith bear fruit:
V. 4, Able
V. 8, Abraham did not see his seed to whom the land was promised, that is Christ.
Then v. 36-40: these people never saw any results of their faith except terrible persecution and death. Though unnamed, they are exalted in the word of God as examples of faith.
Here we are given a warning. Faith is claiming the promises of God's word despite the surrounding circumstances.
The people of 11:36-40 saw only trouble and death as a result of their faith. How easy would it have been for them to become angry and bitter at the Lord?
The Christian faith:
First of all is based in the high priesthood of Christ, 10:21.
Continues on in the public assembly though all the churches you have been in have been rotten (a sad but true commentary in our day).
Continues to respect the office of pastor though it has been extremely corrupted by those who care nothing about the requirements of God's word.
Continues to speak and witness to friends though those friends show little or no interest in the things of the Lord.
Continues to try to evangelize the surrounding communities though there appears to be little response or interest in the Lord.
Continues to give financially what is required by God's word though the fund may be tight.