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From the days when Adam and Eve were driven from the garden, people have been in need of a mediator who could bring them back to God.

Jesus Christ is the one Mediator between God and Man.

This week we are continuing our series on Sunday nights titled “Jesus Christ as Our High Priest.”

The book of Hebrews isn’t the most popular book in the New Testament.

In many respects it is neglected.

The Jewish, or Old Testament, back ground that permeates every chapter has probably contributed to its neglect by many pastors.

The book of Hebrews portrays an exalted concept of Jesus Christ.

This week we are talking about,

Faith, Way of a Good Report.

Text

Hebrews 11:39-40 (AMP)

39 And all of these, though they gained [divine] approval through their faith, did not receive [the fulfillment of] what was promised, 

40 because God had us in mind and had something better for us, so that they [these men and women of authentic faith] would not be made perfect [that is, completed in Him] apart from us.

Scripture Reading.

Hebrews 11:1-40 (ESV)

Introduction 

Every believer wants to have a good report before the Lord.

The author of Hebrews declares that through faith believers are given a good standing before God.

What is faith?

It may be defined as the foundation of hope.

It is the evidence of those many features of life, like trust, and love, that go unseen by the physical eye.

Hebrews 11:1 (AMP)

The Triumphs of Faith

11 Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses].

This chapter is a compilation of teachings on faith.

Faith helps believers obtain good reports in several things. 

Hebrews 11:2 (AMP)

2 For by this [kind of] faith the men of old gained [divine] approval.

  1. In things pleasing to God. Hebrews 11:3-6.

Faith is necessary for God to be pleased.

This is true as we try to comprehend life.

  1. An acceptable creation. 

Hebrews 11:3 (AMP)

3 By faith [that is, with an inherent trust and enduring confidence in the power, wisdom and goodness of God] we understand that the worlds (universe, ages) were framed and created [formed, put in order, and equipped for their intended purpose] by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible

The Bible says that God created the world in Genesis 1:1 and John 1:3.

Through faith we accept this fact.

The author presents a fascinating detail that “things which are seen were not made of things that do appear.”

God created something out of nothing.

Only God can do that.

B. An acceptable sacrifice.

Hebrews 11:4 (AMP)

4 By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which it was testified of him that he was righteous (upright, in right standing with God), and God testified by accepting his gifts. And though he died, yet through [this act of] faith he still speaks.

The story of Cain and Abel is repeated to teach what kind of sacrifice is acceptable to God. 

C. An acceptable life.

Hebrews 11:5 (AMP)

5 By faith [that pleased God] Enoch was caught up and taken to heaven so that he would not have a glimpse of death; and he was not found because God had taken him; for even before he was taken [to heaven], he received the testimony [still on record] that he had walked with God and pleased Him.

The mystery surrounding Enoch’s departure is used to illustrate the part faith plays in a life acceptable to God.

D. Summary statements.

Hebrews 11:6 (AMP)

6 But without faith it is impossible to [walk with God and] please Him, for whoever comes [near] to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He rewards those who [earnestly and diligently] seek Him.

This is one of the most powerful verses in Scripture.

It speaks of the absolute, essential nature of faith.

Faith is necessary even for a simple belief in God.

2. In things pleasing to God. Hebrews 11:7-16.

God uses circumstances to test believers’ faith.

It is not uncommon for believers to experience difficulty.

In each of the following instances God prepared a test for His followers.

  1. The universal flood.

Hebrews 11:7 (AMP)

7 By faith [with confidence in God and His word] Noah, being warned by God about events not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his family. By this [act of obedience] he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness which comes by faith.

God allowed a flood to test a whole generation.

Noah responded in faith and survived.

B. A strange land.

Hebrews 11:8-10 (AMP)

8 By faith Abraham, when he was called [by God], obeyed by going to a place which he was to receive as an inheritance; and he went, not knowing where he was going. 

9 By faith he lived as a foreigner in the promised land, as in a strange land, living in tents [as nomads] with Isaac and Jacob, who were fellow heirs of the same promise. 

10 For he was [waiting expectantly and confidently] looking forward to the city which has foundations, [an eternal, heavenly city] whose architect and builder is God.

Abraham was called by God to leave the security of home and travel to a strange land.

By faith he was given a new land.

C. A closed womb.

Hebrews 11:11-12 (AMP)

11 By faith even Sarah herself received the ability to conceive [a child], even [when she was long] past the normal age for it, because she considered Him who had given her the promise to be reliable and true [to His word]. 

12 So from one man, though he was [physically] as good as dead, were born as many descendants as the stars of heaven in number, and innumerable as the sand on the seashore.

God had promised Abraham that he would be a great nation, yet Sarah, Abraham’s wife, was not able to bear a child.

Through faith this difficulty was overcome.

D. Summary statements.

Hebrews 11:13-16 (AMP)

13 All these died in faith [guided and sustained by it], without receiving the [tangible fulfillment of God’s] promises, only having seen (anticipated) them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 

14 Now those who say such things make it clear that they are looking for a country of their own. 

15 And if they had been thinking of that country from which they departed [as their true home], they would have had [a continuing] opportunity to return. 

16 But the truth is that they were longing for a better country, that is, a heavenly one. For that reason God is not ashamed [of them or] to be called their God [even to be surnamed their God—the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob]; for He has prepared a city for them.

Strangers and pilgrims survived the earthly trek because, by faith, they desired a better country where God would be called their God.

3. In things preserved in God. Hebrews 11:17-22.

God places a protective arm around certain aspects of the Christian’s experience.

He does not depend on humans for certain matters.

  1. A hope in resurrection.

Hebrews 11:17-19 (AMP)

17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested [that is, as the testing of his faith was still in progress], offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises [of God] was ready to sacrifice his only son [of promise]; 

18 to whom it was said, “Through Isaac your descendants shall be called.” 

19 For he considered [it reasonable to believe] that God was able to raise Isaac even from among the dead. [Indeed, in the sense that he was prepared to sacrifice Isaac in obedience to God] Abraham did receive him back [from the dead] figuratively speaking.

The hope of resurrection is always instigated by God.

Abraham had faith that God would raise his son Isaac from the dead if the sacrifice of the child was necessary.

B. A hope in blessing.

Hebrews 11:20 (AMP)

20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau [believing what God revealed to him], even regarding things to come.

People may help us in times of need, but real spiritual blessings come from God as we put our faith in Him.

C. A hope in worship.

Hebrews 11:21 (AMP)

21 By faith Jacob, as he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and bowed in worship, leaning on the top of his staff.

No worship is valid unless the person involved is exercising faith in the one true God.

D. A hope in death.

Hebrews 11:22 (AMP)

22 By faith Joseph, when he was dying, referred to [the promise of God for] the exodus of the sons of Israel [from Egypt], and gave instructions concerning [the burial of] his bones [in the land of the promise].

Human strength ends at death.

Faith in God and in Jesus Christ provides hope for eternal life after death.

4. In things proposed by God. Hebrews 11:23-38.

When God promises victory, He makes a way for it to be obtained.

We gain the good report of victory only through faith.

  1. A conquering of fear. 

Hebrews 11:23-28 (AMP)

23 By faith Moses, after his birth, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful and divinely favored child; and they were not afraid of the king’s (Pharaoh’s) decree. 

24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 

25 because he preferred to endure the hardship of the people of God rather than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin. 

26 He considered the reproach of the Christ [that is, the rebuke he would suffer for his faithful obedience to God] to be greater wealth than all the treasures of Egypt; for he looked ahead to the reward [promised by God]. 

27 By faith he left Egypt, being unafraid of the wrath of the king; for he endured [steadfastly], as seeing Him who is unseen. 

28 By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood [on the doorposts], so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch them (the firstborn of Israel).

God desired for Moses to conquer his fears and live a triumphant life.

Through faith Moses was enabled to defeat fear and uncertainty.

B. A conquering of adversaries.

Hebrews 11:29-30 (AMP)

29 By faith the people [of Israel] crossed the Red Sea as though they were passing through dry land; but when the Egyptians attempted it they were drowned.

30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days [by Joshua and the sons of Israel].

Many things blocked Israel’s progress from Egypt to the promised land.

These obstacles were overcome by faith.

C. A conquering of circumstances.

Hebrews 11:31 (AMP)

31 By faith Rahab the prostitute was not destroyed along with those who were disobedient, because she had welcomed the spies [sent by the sons of Israel] in peace.

Rahab had a sinful occupation.

But through faith in God she was given a very responsible position in biblical history.

D. Summary statements.

Hebrews 11:32-38 (AMP)

32 And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, 

33 who by faith [that is, with an enduring trust in God and His promises] subdued kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promised blessings, closed the mouths of lions, 

34 extinguished the power of [raging] fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became mighty and unbeatable in battle, putting enemy forces to flight. 

35 Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured [to death], refusing to accept release [offered on the condition of denying their faith], so that they would be resurrected to a better life; 

36 and others experienced the trial of mocking and scourging [amid torture], and even chains and imprisonment. 

37 They were stoned [to death], they were sawn in two, they were lured with tempting offers [to renounce their faith], they were put to death by the sword; they went about wrapped in the skins of sheep and goats, utterly destitute, oppressed, cruelly treated 

38 (people of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and [living in] caves and holes in the ground.

An overwhelming list of saints is presented, bearing testimony that the way of a good report is by faith.

Conclusion.

Although each of these recorded saints had received a good report by faith, the new covenant in Jesus Christ promised even more.

Hebrews 11:39-40 (AMP)

39 And all of these, though they gained [divine] approval through their faith, did not receive [the fulfillment of] what was promised, 

40 because God had us in mind and had something better for us, so that they [these men and women of authentic faith] would not be made perfect [that is, completed in Him] apart from us.

Until next time

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I really want to encourage you to be diligent with your Bible study time, because God has so much more for us than we can get from just going to church once or twice a week and hearing someone else talk about the Word.

When you spend time with God, your life will change in amazing ways, because God is a Redeemer.

Theres nothing thats too hard for Him, and He can make you whole, spirit, soul and body!

You’re important to God, and you’re important to us at www.refinerylife.org

When it comes to prayer, we believe that God wants to meet your needs and reveal His promises to you.

So whatever you’re concerned about and need prayer for we want to be here for you! Or even if you just want to say Hi, you can contact us

2020 IS A YEAR OF CLARITY

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