The Victory of Faith – Hebrews #7

The Victory of Faith

Hebrews 11:1-40; 12:1-3


         The Jewish Christians were facing persecution, and Jesus hadn’t come back yet, so some figured they would avoid persecution by going back to Judaism.

         They needed some encouragement to live by faith, and trust God’s promises.

         So do we.

I)                   Faith is taking God at His Word, and trusting Him (11:1-3)

a.      Faith (1)

                                                               i.      The assurance (kjv-substance) of things hoped for

1.      “Faith apprehends what is not revealed to the senses.  It rests on that fact, acts upon it, and is upheld by it in the face of all that seems to contradict it.

2.      Substance (lit. hupostasis) à stasis-stand, hupo-under

a.       That which stands under, like a foundation, the ground on which one builds a hope.

b.      “Faith is the title-deed of things hoped for”

                                                             ii.      Evidence/conviction of things not seen

1.      Elenchos – a proof that by which a thing is proved or tested

2.      That by which invisible things are proven, and we are convinced of their reality.

b.      Men of old gained approval by faith (2)

                                                               i.      By faith even though they are in heaven, their example lives on

                                                             ii.      God rewards those who trust Him

c.      Creation is accepted by faith (3)

                                                               i.      They only way we know about and trust that God made all of creation is by faith/believing His Word

1.      Sometimes we also find evidence of such things.

                                                             ii.      Understand (lit. noeo) – to perceive with reflective intelligence

                                                            iii.      Prepared/framed (lit. katartizo) – to fit or equip à God created and equipped creation to do what He wanted it to

                                                           iv.      Word of God (lit. hrema) – an articulate utterance, God literally spoke

II)                 Faith is needed to please God (11:4-16)

a.      Pre-flood saints (4-7)

                                                               i.      Abel (4) – he offered a better sacrifice by faith, we have a better sacrifice in Christ

                                                             ii.      Enoch (5) – he didn’t die because God took him to heaven, if Christ comes in our lifetime we won’t die

                                                            iii.      God rewards those that seek Him (6) – if we come to God, we must believe that He exists, and trust His words, then He rewards

                                                           iv.      Noah (7) – he believed what God told him, and he was saved from the flood

b.      Abraham and Sarah (8-16)

                                                               i.      Abraham trusted God and traveled to the promised land (Canaan) (8-10)

1.      He didn’t know where he was going (8)

2.      He lived in a foreign land in a tent with his wife (9)

3.      He was looking to go to a place where God was (10)

                                                             ii.      Sarah trusted God to give her a child (11-12)

1.      She was beyond child bearing years (11)

2.      Abraham was so old, he was almost dead, and God fulfilled His promise of giving Abraham as many descendants as the stars in the sky, and the sand on the shore (12)

3.      They died without receiving the promises (13-16)

a.       They believed God would fulfill them, and they believed where they were on earth wasn’t their home (13)

b.      Their words prove that they were looking for a home that God provided for them (14)

c.       They place they left wasn’t that home, if it was they would have returned to it (15)

d.      They were by faith seeking a home with God (16)

                                                                                                                                       i.      As a result of their faith God will never be ashamed of them

                                                                                                                                     ii.      He prepared a city for them

III)              O.T. saints/believers trusted God (11:17-31)

a.      Abraham (17-19)

                                                               i.      He was willing to kill his only son, because God told him to

                                                             ii.      Isaac was the son whom the promise of many descendants would come through (18)

                                                            iii.      Abraham trusted God and His promise so much, he believed that God would raise Isaac from the dead if he killed him (19)

1.      As a type – the ram replaced Isaac, so he received him back from the dead, because the ram died in his place

b.      Isaac, Jacob, Joseph (20-23)

                                                               i.      Isaac (20) – he passed the blessing of the promise on by faith, believing that God would keep His word

                                                             ii.      Jacob (21) – he did the same, even worshipping leaning on his staff as an old man

                                                            iii.      Joseph (22) – believed God would deliver the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, so he told the Israelites to have his bones taken with them, when they left Egypt

                                                           iv.      Moses’ parents (23) – they believed God had something better than death in store for Moses, so they hid him

c.      Moses (24-28)

                                                               i.      Rather than receive privilege from Pharaoh, he chose God’s people, and God (24)

                                                             ii.      He chose slavery and punishment, rather than disregard God and His people (25)

                                                            iii.      He chose God and His promise over the riches of Egypt (26)

                                                           iv.      He didn’t fear and give in to Pharaoh, but he trusted God (27)

1.      God sustained him, and showed up when He talked to Moses in the burning bush

                                                             v.      God told him to put blood on the corners of the doors of the house, so he did, and the blood caused the angel of God to pass over their houses and not kill their first born (28)

d.      Israelites (29-30)

                                                               i.      God said go through the Red Sea, so they did, and made it safely through, but the Egyptians were killed when they tried to pass through

                                                             ii.      God said march around Jericho one time each for six days, and then on the seventh day they were to march around it seven times, so they did and they won, the walls fell (30)

1.      Joshua 6:1-5, 20

e.      Rahab (31)

                                                               i.      She heard about what God had done in Egypt, and risked her life believing that He did do what she had heard

1.      Joshua 2:8-11

IV)              The events these O.T. believers endured (11:32-38)

a.      They won great battles by faith (32-34)

                                                               i.      There are too many men and women who lived by faith and trusted God for the author to mention (32)

                                                             ii.      By faith they conquered kingdoms, lived righteously, received promises of God, and shut the mouths of lions (33)

                                                            iii.      By faith they quenched fire, escaped the sword, were made strong, were mighty in war, and chased away armies (34)

b.      They were persecuted and killed for their faith (35-38)

                                                               i.      Some were killed but raised back to life, they were tortured because they wouldn’t deny God, they did this because they trusted God to take care of them (35)

1.      To receive a better resurrection

2.      Tortured (lit. tumpanizo) – to torture with the tumpanum, a wheel shaped instrument that stretched a person while they were beaten with clubs and whips

                                                             ii.      They were mocked and scourged, chained up, and imprisoned (36)

                                                            iii.      They were also… (37)

1.      Stoned to death – Stephen

2.      Sawn in two – tradition says that Isaiah was cut in half by King Manasseh

3.      They were tempted – Joseph with Potiphar’s wife

4.      Put to death with the sword

5.      Wore sheepskins, and goatskins

6.      Destitute-poor, afflicted-by men, ill-treated – by men

                                                           iv.      The world wasn’t worthy of these faithful, godly men and women (38)

1.      They wandered in deserts, mountains, caves, and holes in the ground

V)                Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of God the Father’s promises (11:39-40; 12:1-3)

a.      The O.T. believers all lived faithfully, even though they didn’t get to see the promises of God ultimately fulfilled (39-40)

                                                               i.      They lived faithfully, even without seeing the promises fulfilled before they died (39)

1.      We should continue living faithfully and cling to God, even if we die before Christ returns

                                                             ii.      We live in the time of looking back at the cross, the O.T. believers lived before, so they were in heaven on credit till Messiah paid the debt of sins in full (40)

1.      Rom. 3:25

b.      Cling to Jesus and finish the race (12:1-2)

                                                               i.      Run the race to completion (1)

1.      Witnesses (lit. marturea – witness, testimony)-because they have lived faithfully without receiving the promises, we can too

a.       Lay aside every encumbrance and sin – entangles (lit. euperistaton – ambushes, encircles)

                                                             ii.      Look to Jesus (2) – (lit. aphorao – to turn the eyes away from other things, and fix them on something)

1.      Author (lit. archegon – pioneer, He led the way, He is the example of how we should live)

2.      Perfecter/finisher (lit. teleioo – to finish, complete, make perfect)

3.      Joy set before Him – buying salvation, and His exaltation at the right hand of the Father

c.      Jesus endured more than we ever will (3)

                                                               i.      Consider Him (lit. analogizomai – consider by way of comparison)

                                                             ii.      These Jewish Christians were persecuted by Jews still following the Law of Moses, so the author says, look at what Jesus endured for you

                                                            iii.      Jesus suffered much more than anyone ever will

1.      He created the universe (Col. 1:13-19), yet He allowed Himself to be persecuted, and He allowed Himself to die for our sins (Col. 1:20)


         The O.T. saints lived by faith not by sight.  They believed God’s promises, and died before Messiah Jesus Christ came.  Yet they didn’t give up.

         God rewards faith in His Word, and His promises.  O.T. and N.T. believers suffered and died awaiting the fulfillment of God’s promises.  O.T. saints awaited the promised land, and the coming of Messiah.  These Hebrew Christians and we also await the promised return of Jesus Christ.  But if He doesn’t return in our lifetime, don’t doubt God’s promises.  Live by faith. (2 Pet. 3:3-13)

         If you haven’t trusted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, you need to.  God the Father commanded it (1 Jn. 3:23).  There is salvation in no other name (Jn. 14:6; Acts 4:10-12).


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