Addenda

Saturday, May 28

Addendum 1. Heb. 11:6 says that God rewards those that seek Him. Other places in Scripture talk about rewards, 1 Cor. 3:10-15 for one. The natural interpretation for Heb. 11: 6, however, is that God allows the seeker to find what he seeks. This is the understanding in Mt. 7:7. “Ask, and it will be given you; seek and you will find; Knock and the door will be opened to you.” The men of faith commended in Hebrews 11 were seeking God. They obviously found Him. The writer also puts it in terms of seeking another country. This world is not their home. They are not citizens of this world, but citizens of heaven. This is a matter of faith. They did not experience their new country in this life, but they believed that they would in the next life.

 

Addendum 2. Heb. 11:7. “by faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family.” What did he fear? I don’t think he feared the flood or the carnage to come.   Nor did he fear the mockers who plagued him while he built the ark. He was concerned for his family, but I think what he feared was God. The word “holy” might indicate that. Biblical “fear” sometimes means “awesome respect.” His unwavering trust in God is testimony to his regard for God. His relationship with God was not built on fear; it was built on love.

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Abel, Enoch, and Noah

Friday, May 27                                                                                                                     

From Pastor Doug. Hebrews 11:4-7 speaks of Abel, Enoch, and Noah. The author of Hebrews does not focus on what these three men did. There’s a little bit more recorded about what they did in Genesis, especially with Noah, but the author of Hebrews is not focusing on what they did; he is focusing on their faith. Their faith, of course, dictated what they did. And, as it is pointed out throughout Hebrews 11, they did what they did despite circumstances and consequences. Doug quoted Warren Wiersbe on this point: “True Bible faith is confident obedience to God’s Word in spite of circumstances and consequences.” Circumstances: All the world apart from Noah and his immediate family had rejected God and were given over to gross sin. God told Noah that He was going to wipe out the world’s population with a flood. The world had never had rain, let alone a flood. Can you think of worse circumstances than those? Consequences:   Abel, the first person born into this world, was killed by his own brother, the second born human. Enoch, apparently a lone believer in his godless society, became the first human being that went to his reward without passing through death. Most of us will never have to face what these men faced, but we have the same options. We either cave in to the way the world is going, or we obey God. We can trust the God of the universe or trust our own sinful reasoning. It shouldn’t be too hard to make the right choice. And that’s why we have Hebrews 11. What do these three men have in common besides the their faith? They had an intimate relationship with God. They knew God—His holiness, His love, His concern for the human race, of sin and its consequences, of a future eternal life. And they knew that God would reward those that trusted Him. Heb. 11:6. “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone that comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”     

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Dear Children

Thursday, May 26

Sunday we sang “God Leads us Along.” The message was that whether life is pleasant or full of trials, God is leading. We all relish the good times. The hard times are just that—hard. We would be happy to avoid them or get them over with as quickly as possible. The hymn reminds me that God is leading us in both situations. The hard times are for a purpose and my God is leading the way. David probably had much more of the hard times than the easy times, but he got the message. Psalm 23. After being led along the cool waters, he was led through the valley of the shadow of death. His response? “I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” But as we sang this hymn the thing that hit me was the “dear children.” Over and over “God leads his dear children along.” God loves me and cares for me just as a good shepherd cares for his sheep. When I think about what I can offer God, it is truly amazing that He can call me his dear child. “Lead on, O King Eternal!”

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Thursday, May 26                                                        Dear Children

Sunday we sang “God Leads us Along.” The message was that whether life is pleasant or full of trials, God is leading. We all relish the good times. The hard times are just that—hard. We would be happy to avoid them or get them over with as quickly as possible. The hymn reminds me that God is leading us in both situations. The hard times are for a purpose and my God is leading the way. David probably had much more of the hard times than the easy times, but he got the message. Psalm 23. After being led along the cool waters, he was led through the valley of the shadow of death. His response? “I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” But as we sang this hymn the thing that hit me was the “dear children.” Over and over “God leads his dear children along.” God loves me and cares for me just as a good shepherd cares for his sheep. When I think about what I can offer God, it is truly amazing that He can call me his dear child. “Lead on, O King Eternal!”

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Search Me

Wednesday, May 25                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

There is nothing that is too trivial for God. This is well pictured in Psalm 139. David is waxing eloquent about how God knows him. He starts out with “O Lord , you have searched me and known me.” I think the truth of this Psalm is not limited to David. It’s a picture of how God knows every one of us. You would have to read all 24 verses to get the full picture, but here’s a sample. God says he knows when I sit down and when I rise, when I go out and when I lie down. He knows my thoughts before I even think them. He knows what I’m going to say before I say it. He created my soul before I was born. All of my days were recorded in a book before the day I was born. His thoughts of me are more numerous than the grains of sand on all the beaches. That’s awesome, but there’s more. God doesn’t just know me—He loves and cares for me. And that’s still not all. Going back to verse one, He searches me. That means that God has a purpose for me. David gets back to that at the end of the Psalm: “Search me, O God, and know my heart, test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me to the way everlasting.” David really laid it on the line! I’m not so sure I would feel comfortable praying that prayer. But it gives me great confidence to call on God, not just for the big things, but for the smallest things that concern me. He understands me. loves me, cares for me, forgives me, and is merciful and gracious. And I can call for help at any time—there is nothing too trivial. May I fulfill the purpose He has for me!

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Future Gifts

Tuesday, May 24

Pastor Doug focused on faith in a recent sermon. He quoted William R. Newell from Hebrews Verse by Verse, p. 372. “Hoping for something is not yet faith. Faith says ‘I have it.’”   Both of these statements are enigmatic and may need some clarification. In the first statement, the word “hope” is used in the normal way, that is, “I would like something to happen, but it might not happen.” That is “not yet faith.” The Bible definition of hope is much different. It is based on a holy, loving, all knowing and all powerful God. God can’t lie. When he says something is going to happen, it will happen. It’s as certain as though it had already happened. And that is where faith comes in. The fact that it will happen doesn’t change, but our view of it can differ. We either believe it or we don’t. Believing it is exercising faith. So truth concerning the future when accompanied by belief is Biblical hope.   The second statement has a double meaning. The future—including being freed from the sin nature, putting on an incorruptible body, and being in heaven with Jesus for eternity—is a gift already given and received.   So “I have it.” But it just hasn’t been experienced yet. We have it, yet we don’t. William Newell had it right—and, having passed on, is now experiencing what he hoped for.

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Two Revelations

Monday, May 23

There’s a huge contrast between Heb. 11:2-3 and Rom. 1:18-21. The most obvious thing is that Paul deals with the vast majority of humanity that rejected God and who are justly condemned. Hebrews deals with the minority group that exercised faith in God and are redeemed and graced with an eternal life with God. A second distinction is that Paul is dealing with natural revelation and Hebrews is dealing with special revelation. Third, Paul is simply giving a resumé of historic truth to prepare his readers for the special revelation that God brought to the world. In Hebrews, the gospel has already taken effect, the church is established, and the message is to Christians who now have a high priest to make eternal intercession for them. Fourth, the Romans passage looks forward to salvation, while Hebrews looks forward to eternity. But there are commonalities, too. These are not all specified in the two texts, but are germane to the messages. 1) There is life after death. Every human being has a future, some will be confined to hell and separated from God, and others will enjoy the delights of heaven. 2) Sin is a problem. God is holy and can’t accept anyone into heaven who is not holy. 3) God is revealed. He has revealed himself in nature so that man, who cannot make himself holy, must turn to One who can. 4) A remedy for sin. God also had a remedy for the sin problem. He sent his son to die in man’s place. 5) Belief required. The remedy only becomes effective by belief in Christ as our sin bearer. The two messages mesh perfectly.

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