The following study is based on Hebrews 11:39, “39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:”
All these people that we’ve studied this past few months, Abel, Noah, Abraham, Moses, all these people obtained a good report through faith. It was faith that strengthened them. It was faith that gave them the victory. It was faith that made them righteous and brought salvation to them. It was faith that wrought in them and through them to work mightily for God!
But yet it says, even though they obtained a good report, they didn’t receive the promise. They believed the promise! Just like Abraham believed the promise of God by faith and God said he was righteous. Of course, Abraham received the promise of having a son. But what was it, that all these people, they obtained a good report through faith but yet didn’t receive the promise? What promise was this?
- Hebrews 11:13-16
13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. 15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. 16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.
- It was a promise of a better country. The promise of heavenly Canaan, where God is not ashamed to be called their God!
- Revelation 21:3
And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
- God can only truly be our God when sin is finally done away with, when at the second coming He will bring us to heaven, and at the third coming He will make a new heaven and a new earth!
- That is the promise that Hebrews 11 and all the patriarchs and great men and women in the Old Testament are looking forward to!
So all these great patriarchs of faith died, not having received this promise. And then it continues.
- Hebrews 11:40
God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
- God provided something better for us. What is that better thing? And then it says, that they without us should not be made perfect.
- Before we look at this better thing, I want you to understand that the end of Hebrews 11 finishes with this really important point.
- They. Who are they? All the great men and women of faith. They cannot be perfect with us!
- Why? Because Moses, Noah, Abraham – all these great men and women in the Old Testament are waiting for us!
What are they waiting for?
- Hebrews 12:1
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
- They are waiting for us to lay aside every weight. What weight is that? The weight of sin. And to run the race with patience.
But how? How to run this race?
- Hebrews 12:2
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
- We got to run this race by looking unto Jesus, by keeping our eyes fixed on Him. This was the something better that God has provided for us!
- It was something that Noah, Abel, Abraham, David, Samuel – that none of these people that we’ve been studying in the Old Testament had. We have an advantage!
- They say that hindsight is 20/20 vision. Today in 2020, or whatever year you are reading it in, we are looking back into the past. We are looking at historical records in the New Testament of a man, a Saviour named Jesus Christ who came and lived amongst us, to die for us, and to resurrect for each of us.
- But the Old Testament men and women, they didn’t have that privilege. They beheld the Lamb that would come one day through types and symbols. But we’ve seen it with our own eyes! It was future for them. But today, it’s history for us!
- The whole story has been written out. Jesus has come, He has conquered, He has given us the assurance that our faith will not be in vain if we trust in Him!
There is one really important lesson though when we study about these great people in the Old Testament. We should be what they are and more!
- Why? Because we have had every advantage offered to us. The greatest light is shining on us today. We have no excuse. What they were able to accomplish and how they lived by faith, it was done in a time when the light was not shining the brightest.
- We have the full light of the gospel shining on us today. We have Jesus who has fulfilled all the Old Testament prophecies. We still see through a glass darkly, but it was dimmer in their days than it is for us today!
Jesus is Author and Finisher of our faith, He will perfect the work. And when Jesus starts the work of faith in our hearts, what happens? Hebrews 12:1 says we are able to lay aside every weight and sin.
- 1 John 5:4
For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
- Faith is the victory! We got to keep looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith! He will give us victory. Victory over what? SIN! Laying aside sin and every weight.
- 1 John 5:17
All unrighteousness is sin…
- Opposite to sin is faith.
- Romans 1:17
For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
- We must live by faith today which means that we must experience victory over sin!
- Ephesians 2:8-9
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
- Faith will lay hold on grace that will bring the victory down to us!
Today faith will give us the victory! They without us cannot be made perfect! Their faith was able to make them perfect, and they are waiting for us, waiting for us to run this race and to finish it!
- Luke 7:50
And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.
- This is how important faith is! Without which, none of us can be saved. Jesus turned to Mary that told her that her faith saved her. Faith and faith alone saves
- Luke 18:42
And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee.
- Faith and faith alone saves!
- Acts 16:30-31
30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
- FAITH SAVES!!!! This is how important faith is!
Some people came up to Jesus and wanted to work the works of God so they asked Jesus what they should do.
- John 6:28-29
28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? 29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.
- Jesus replied to them, if you want to work the works of God then you need to work on believing. Our work is to believe!
- Jesus wants us to work on our faith today. How? We have to believe!
So then how can we believe?
- Romans 10:14-15
14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
- Then it concludes with Romans 10:17, one of my favourite verses!
- Romans 10:17
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
- It really is that simple. We must strengthen our faith. We must hear the word of God. We must spend time in it. Our relationship with God must grow deeper. Our time with Him must become sweeter.
We are saved by faith and it is necessary for it to be faith. Why?
- Romans 3:27-28
27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
- If we were saved by works, we could boast. We could say, “I did it! I got myself the victory! No one helped me!” Boasting is a result of justification by works.
- But justification by faith is a realisation that we need help and we can’t help ourselves!
Does that mean works is not important? Absolutely not!
- In Ephesians 2:8-9 it says we are saved by grace through faith, not of works. You must understand, faith and faith alone saves us. Not a single work will merit us heaven. Many people get these two things mixed up. Our works will not bring us even one step, or one inch or even one millimeter closer to heaven.
- So where does works fit in then?
- Ephesians 2:10
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
- When faith lays hold on grace, yes it saves us. But it doesn’t just do that. It also transforms us. It makes us a new creature. Graces cleanses us, it pardons us. It is faith that works!
- The evidence of grace in our lives that faith has taken a hold of and brought down to you, it’s not a warm fuzzy feeling. It’s found in the evidence of a changed life. The life that you now live is different!
- Galatians 2:20
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
- If Jesus was in your shoes, I’m sure your actions would be different. I’m sure your words would be different. It’s faith that works!
- The foundation if faith. The result is works that is found in a changed life. Old things are passed away, behold all things have become new. It’s not simply new clothes, or a new house or a new car. It’s a changed heart. It’s new thoughts which result in new actions. An old life of sin is replaced with a life hid in Christ which lays aside all the weight and sin that we carry. It’s victory over sin!
Faith always works!
- Galatians 5:6
For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
- 1 Thessalonians 1:3
Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;
How does it work? By faith! But what does that mean? By faith?
- Ephesains 3:17
That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
- Through faith, the picture of Christ must be built in our hearts. Faith makes our heart an abiding presence for Jesus.
- How to have faith again?
- Romans 10:17
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
- Romans 10:17
- All the sermons we listen to, all the time we read the Bible, all the time we spend in prayer, our time in church, our devotions, our Bible studies, whatever it is, all the hearing of the word of God in our lives is not just a list of do’s and don’t’s. It’s not just about stories that tickle our minds. It’s about making room for Jesus to dwell in our hearts.
And when Jesus dwells in our hearts, what happens?
- Philippians 2:13
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
- We are allowing Him to live in and through each of us. He will do the good works in and through us. When those good works are done, it’s not in our own strength, it’s in the strength of Jesus Christ.
But how? How is this done, that God can help us?
- It’s done simply by faith. That’s all we need to know. Beyond that, it’s not in the range of our comprehension. We don’t need to know how totally. Just know that Jesus has given us a road map to follow. The Christian life is a mystery, even to the Christian himself.
- Colossians 1:27
To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
- 1 Timothy 3:16
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness…
- We don’t need to know the how, we just need to believe that it works. That when we have faith, it will work for us!
That’s how important faith is! This is the work that must be done in our lifetime, right now, today! Have you begun to live the life of faith? Have you started this race that we are to run? If you have, let’s make sure to keep our eyes CONSTANTLY fixed on Jesus Christ and not on self
Not like Peter, when he began to walk on water, he started to allow thoughts of self to enter into his mind and he forgot to keep his eyes fixed on Jesus. And then when the waves that came between them became more prevalent, and the winds seemed stronger, then he panicked. And then it all became about himself, his safety, his life. He forgot that it was Christ that called him out onto the water.
Let’s remember to make Jesus our first, our last and our best. Let’s make Him the apple of our eye. Let’s put Him on the throne of our hearts. Let’s give Him our deepest devotions and affections.
Let’s run this race, because Moses, Abraham, Noah, Abel, David, Samuel and all those that have gone before us are cheering us on! They are waiting for us to finish the race, then Jesus can come and take us all home!
I pray that through all these studies on faith that we have learnt truly what it means to live by faith. That the roadmap is clear. And all we need to do is simply apply these lessons that we have learnt. May God bless each of you as you begin this journey, or continue this journey of faith today!