Bible Lesson 14: Hebrews 11-13 Lecture

Scripture: Hebrews 11-13

Aim: CATL faith is essential in God’s family

Introduction: Last week we learned about covenants, the old and new, our need for a priest and how Christ serves as our permanent high priest interceding on our behalf with the Father.  We learned that a covenant is made between two or more people, like God and mankind.  This week we learn about faith.  What is really interesting is that faith is a form of covenant.  Faith is the foundation of our relationship with God and the demonstration of His relationship with us.

1st division: Hebrews 11: 1-16 Biblical characters model faith.

Principle: Faithful followers stand as pillars to build on

Illustration: Every home land has culture, norms, traditions, laws and practices.  (Talk briefly about some different cultures, driving on different sides of the road, etc.)

Application: Have you justified something based on comparison to your neighbors?  If so, is that comparison to your current neighbors or the ones who will be down the block from you in heaven, like Abel, Enoch, Noah and Abraham?  Are you conforming to earthly culture or do you look forward to your heavenly  home?

2nd division: Hebrews 11:17-12:29 Faith is like a muscle – it needs work to remain strong

Principle: God provides work and challenge to strengthen our faith

Illustration:  I have an issue with my elbow.  The range of motion is restricted and I’m going to a physical therapist to help me.  She is having me do some challenging and painful exercises, stretching and building back the motion in my joint.  I don’t enjoy it, but I understand it is necessary.  God works the same way in our lives.  If we weren’t tested, if we didn’t face resistance we would grow weak.

Application: Are you actively participating in God’s exercise and training plan for you?  Do you seek out God’s spiritual therapy or do you try to avoid it?  What are you doing that is outside of your comfort zone?

3rd division: Hebrews 13 True faith is demonstrated not just discussed

Principle: Faith is the character of a christian

Illustration: There was a man in a small town who was “the bravest man in town”.  He wore a t-shirt with that slogan on it.  He had a sign in his yard.  It was on his business cards.  He rode on the back of a convertible in the annual parade.  Then one day some robbers came to town and the man was found hiding behind a group of children.  Faith is the same way – the true nature is evident in our actions in difficult times, not in how much we talk about it in easy times.

Application:  Are you a hypocrite or poser?  Do you live one life at church and a different life at school or work?  Do you wear your faith on your sleeve, chest, around your neck, on the back of your car or is it something people clearly see in times of trouble and need?

Conclusion: Chapter 13 sums it all up – what it means to be part of God’s family:  It starts with love, ends with grace and at the center of it all is the sacrifice Christ made for me so I can be his brother.

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BSF Acts: Week 13, Day 5: Hebrews 13

Hebrews 13.

Summary:

I see the last chapter of Hebrews like the last lecture (good book by the way) or the bedside chat that any dying patriarch or matriarch of the family would love to have with their family.  I’ve just spent 12 chapters teaching and enlightening you – and there is so much more you need to learn, but let me leave you with these things. 

Questions:

14. Write several specific ways you can put these exhortations into practice.
a. Show God’s love to others upclose and personal – not just by writing a check

b. Working to help my wife feel safe, secure and loved daily

c. Be joyful not wanting – my perspective is my choice – my situation isn’t always that way

d. Sad but so true – we are taught the right path by the bible, Jesus and leaders, but we look for a new easier way.  It works – stick with it.

e. If it is in my comfort zone it is not a sacrifice

f. Nothing is as satisfying and fulfilling as praise
15. a. Those who follow the Lord

b. Pray. Give to them all that is due to them.  Respect the office or position.  Work to change them or change them out of the position.

Conclusion:

It starts with love (vs 1).  It ends with grace (vs 25) and at the very center is Jesus, the disgrace he suffered for us, and us joining him outside of this world in a city that is to come.

BSF Acts: Week 13, Day 4: Hebrews 12

Hebrews 12

Summary:

Have you every watched a herding dog work?  Part of the time it is out in front, leading the way, then it loops to the back, side to side, nipping at the heels as necessary to keep everyone on course, then back out in front again.  Hebrews 12, to me, is the personification of a herding dog.  The first verses are the dog, out in front – this way, here we go, keep going, doing great.  The last verses are back behind – don’t get off path, stay the course, are you insane, do you know what happened to the Israelites who just touched the mountain, nip, nip.  And I particularly love the very center of the chapter – verse 14-15 – Be holy and don’t let anyone miss the grace of God. (that is what it is all about, right?).

 

Questions:
9. a. what you must reject (verse 1a): shame, guilt, inadequacy, pride, self-reliance, self-confidence, distraction, wavering, (baggage and sin)
b. with perseverance – my own race (the one marked out for me)
c. on Jesus

10. a. It is provided in love and for training, not punishment.  It is provided by a loving Father for my growth and development.  I am allowed to receive the rewards eternally from the pain of the short-term training.
b.

1. Pray: One way to exercise your arms and knees is to bend them together, like we do when we pray

2. Work: Another is to get out and do good works for the kingdom.  Help, the poor, the widows and orphans, the disabled, those in need – for the purpose of serving God, not man.

3. Stay on the course: When the running gets hard it is easy to want to go rest under that nice oak tree, just for a little bit.  God stays to stay on the course, not off in the weeds.  We can become so distracted by “easy self-help guides” that we forget that we are given challenges to teach us to rely on God not ourselves. (duh!)

4. Play well with others:  There is no extra prize for getting through life first, but there are eternal rewards for running in a pack with others helping them even as they help you.

5. Be holy.

c. (Personal) My family, coworkers, those in mission work that I help support, other BSF leaders and HQ, my co-leader in BSF, my pastors and elders of my church, my family and the 16 kids in my class.

11. The analogy I think of is that of electricity.  Under the old covenant, the work was not complete.  The power was there, turned on and all could feel and knew of its presence, but any misstep was deadly – not out of threat or punishment, but out of reality.  Under the new, the work is complete, the electricity lights the landing field, sending a beacon of welcome to all believers to come home.
12. Following the analogy – do not mistake: the pretty lights are lit by the same power – and now that they are on and fully lit we have no excuse or justification for not following the beacon.  Choosing to not follow God is far more deathly than accidentally coming too close to him in the old testament.  In the old, they lost their earthly life, in the new someone loses their eternal life.

13. a. Hero worship – I think we are living in a generation and a time of information and communication that hero worship (except for the fanatical) is gone.  No man is good and thus no man is great.  In the past, blemishes were hidden and people were idolized.  Today it is all but assumed that those who have risen to power are flawed and deceitful. 

b.By being unshakable in my faith and devotion.  By not wavering from the path.  By keeping my focus on Jesus.

Conclusions:

1. I loved part 5 of question 10b – be holy.  It made me think.  Most of us have some sensibility of what we would do or bring into church.  We wouldn’t stand up in a church and start cussing.  We wouldn’t go to church and take money from the offering plate to line our own pockets.  We wouldn’t bring pornography or drugs or other vices into church.  But church is not a place, it is a body – my body as a believer.  Why would I do or bring any of those things into this church any more than I would into the four walled structure.  It gave me some new thoughts about being holy.

2.  Question 13a – Wow, that sounded cynical – Please don’t mistake this for a lack of admiration and respect for those who live a humble life of service to God and the church.  That is not what I mean.  But I think there was an era, maybe our parents generation, maybe grandparents, where people admired “great men”.  The history books seem to be filled with them.  But my sense is that the people of today are not better or worse than those of history, but the information we have about them is more honest.  The history books are filled with men of honor and duty to principle and values.  The people in equivalent positions today are accused of adultery, child molestation, transmitting nude pictures, etc., etc.  The higher we try to climb on our own self worth, the harder we fall under the light of scrutiny and information.  But those who lead as servants, who serve in prayerful obedience to God, those are the ones to be modeled. 

The people I look up to the most?  Those who spend the most time down on their knees!

BSF Acts: Week 13, Day 3: Hebrews 11:17–40

Hebrews 11:17–40.

Summary:

A review of how some old testament pillars of faith acted in faith despite the fact they they only had faith, not the full revelation of the completed work of Christ.

Questions:
6. Abraham, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. 

Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.

Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.

Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions about his bones.

Moses, chose to be mistreated along with the people of God; he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible; he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.

7. First comes God’s love and calling, then comes our answer and faith, finally comes our maturity in doing works pleasing to God.  Rahab was a seeker – God is God of all whether they choose to accept His gift of salvation or not.  Even if someone decides to reject God, that does not mean that he or she may not be part of God’s plan of salvation for others.  Also, just because someone has sinned (acted unethically) does not mean God doesn’t know that they will someday be part of His family and reward and protect them as such.  However, that does not mean that God encourages us to be broken or deceitful – if that were the case then Christ would have acted in that manner while on earth.

8. Other than Moses (who was allowed to see the back of the almighty) the others only had a shadow.  We have the spoken word of God, the living messiah who came to earth.  We have the revelation of the old testament prophecies and the comprehension of God’s plan for salvation of His people.  Basically, we have a full set of the blueprints, in 3D, of God’s plan of saving the world from sin through his son.  How great was their faith that they were pillars of this building without any idea of the plan of the completed structure.  They stood by faith because of hope alone and trust in the master builder, not assurance that the work was completed.

Conclusion:

I really liked that BSF looped in Rahab and the spies.  Sometimes the characters of the old testament can seem a bit larger than life, particularly to a new believer.  Not that any of these men were without sin.  The bible is unsympathetic in pointing out their faults as well as their strengths, but, I mean, when is the last time you dropped everything and constructed an Ark?  But God is God, almighty and all knowing.  He can use a sinner just like me, particularly if I am willing to stand out in faith, the same that he can and does with any other person on this planet.

BSF Acts: Week 13, Day 2: Hebrews 11:1–16

Hebrews 11:1–16

Summary:

What does it mean to have faith?  It is more than recognizing who Jesus is, even the demons did that.  It is to abide in a relationship for all eternity with God and the heavenly host.

Questions:

3. a. Our belief in the accomplished work of Christ is both the foundation or underlying reality of our eternal relationship with Christ and also the demonstration or proof of His eternal relationship with us.

Said another way – faith is neither cause or effect, it is a mutual relationship and covenant – like friendship, love, peace and joy, shared and enjoyed together in a the family of believers with God.

b. Many people think of faith as action you take when there is uncertainty – blind faith, leap of faith.  Others think of faith as a system or structure: Christian faith, Jewish faith, Islamic faith. Finally, some think of it as confidence or trust in another: I have faith in you.

4. Abel was commended as a righteous man.

Enoch was commended as one who pleased God.

Noah by his faith condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

Abraham made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country.

Sarah gave birth because Abraham considered God faithful

5. Each home land has culture, norms, traditions, laws and practices.  Do I live as a citizen of the Unites States and adapt to its culture and norms?  Do I live as a citizen of earth and abide in those practices?  Or do I compare my eternal life (starting now) with other heavenly citizens (such as Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham) and abide in heavenly principles?

Conclusion:

I probably spent way too much time on Hebrews 11:1, but I found it fascinating.  When you look at the greek words that make up the verse there is even more of a richness than is evident in english. 

For example, the first part (being sure of), the word used in greek is hypostasis, a word still used today, to mean the substantial quality or nature of something that makes it what it is, the substructure, foundation, substance or real being.  The word is a feminine noun – the DNA of being a christian – the core building block.

Then in the second part (certain of what), the word used in greek is elegchos, a masculine noun meaning proof, that by which a  thing is proved or tested.  It is what demonstrates it to be true. Evidence.

Finally, the thing that we are certain of but do not see is the word pragma, meaning “that which has been done, a deed, an accomplished fact.”

My take away from this was that faith is both the basis of what makes us christian and the proof that we are christian.  But contrary to common usage, it is not a one way street (I have faith in God), but instead it is two way, a relationship, male and female.  God also puts His faith and trust in me to be part of His family.