Happy Sunday, to you all!
For this blog, I am going to share the message I shared with my church today. I am going to leave it in its original state, it will be in a bullet point format.
In regards to the blogs for the rest of this month, I have been reading through the gospel of Mark over the past week. The Lord has been continuously teaching me and I have been learning a lot. Hopefully, I will turn these teachings into small blogs. I will be working on this through the coming week.
For now, I will leave you with the message I shared. I pray, however hard or good this week has been for you; you would continuously know the faithfulness of God in your life and be able to put your full faith in Him.
God bless you, love Victoria. xx
In the month of November, we have been looking at ‘God is faithful’, in continuation of this topic we are going to focus on Hebrews 11; having faith in a faithful God. All these people were imperfect, but they placed their faith and trust in the promises God gave them. It led to sacrifice, uncertainty, and hardship. Many of them died without receiving what was promised but they died in faith trusting in all that was to come. May we be encouraged that faith in God does not always mean direct results, but it does not discredit God’s faithfulness. Many of these individuals were dealing with the same challenges we face today. However, they continuously made the choice to have faith in what God was doing and where God was leading. Their faith was commended. May we find hope to continuously keep our faith in our faithful God.
What does faith mean?
- Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (Hebrews 11v1).
- Faith leads us to let go of our certainty and our absolutes. It leads us on journey far from the comforts of what the world has to offer.
- Faith is not a onetime decision, but it is a daily choice.
- Faith in a faithful God will lead us through life, the good and the bad.
- Let us take some time to explore what a life of faith looks like.
Faith will lead us to unknown places.
- By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. (Hebrews 11v8-9)
- Faith is allowing the Lord to lead our lives, to follow his commands wherever he may be asking us to go.
- I am sure many, if not all of us, can think of a place you never imagined yourself in, but you felt the Lord was leading you too. It may not have been the easiest place to be or may still not be the easiest place to be. You have seen God at work there in some of the most incredible ways.
- Living a life of faith means we cannot remain comfortable and want a life of certainty. As we read through Hebrews 11 and their lives throughout the bible. There was always change and new challenges.
- Many of them were led far from home, into unknown places. It was by the Lord’s guidance; they trusted as God continued to establish His plan through each of them.
- Having faith in a faithful God means we must be willing to be led, to new and unknown places.
- To be led we must trust God and His promises. Whatever the situation may throw at us, we are reassured in the faithfulness of God.
- In V22, we are reminded of the exodus from Egypt which led to many challenges for the Israelites as they were being led to the promised land.
- I recently read these words in Jeremiah and they are applicable when we are being led into new and challenging places.
- They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 1v19)
Faith takes sacrifice
- In Hebrews 11 we are shown the sacrifice of faith, for a life of faith meant a life laid down. In service and in following God.
- All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw and welcomed them from a distance, admitting they were foreigners and strangers on earth. (11v13)
- Faith in God’s promises take time, devotion, patience and so much more.
- Faith in God means offering all we are and all we have to him. It is a life not lived for our own gain but for the glory of God.
- Hebrews recounts the story of Abraham being asked by the Lord to sacrifice his son Isaac.
- This was the promised and awaited son but Abraham was willing to sacrifice in faithful obedience to his God.
- By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned. (11v17-18)
- The faith Abraham had in God was incredible. Abraham was willing to offer up his one and only son but also had faith God was not finished with him yet. Abraham whole-heartedly trusted in the promises of God. He knew God was faithful to fulfil.
- Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from the dead. (11v19)
- Moses could have lived a life of luxury and ease as he had been adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter. Instead he laid it all down and picked up the hardship of his own people.
- By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. (v24-25)
- Faith is a choice. We can look at all we have and choose to put our faith in it. How quickly our faith is diminished when something is broken or lost.
- Faith mean trusting and believing in what God has promised even when you cannot see the direct results of the promises.
- It means having a loose grip on everything you possess on earth, with the willingness to let go or offer up all that God asks of us.
Faith enables endurance through hardship.
- All of these individuals faced challenges and hardships.
- In all they endured, they held onto the promises of God and their faith in how faithful God was.
- Many of them endured life threatening situations. Many of them also escaped, which showed the full power and authority of God.
- Who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised ; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. (v33-34).
- God was so evident in every struggle and hardship they faced. He was with them in the lion’s den and in the furnace and in the deepest pit.
- Our suffering never goes unnoticed by God. May we never believe the lie that God has forsaken us.
- We may not see direct answers, as we had wished but God promised He would never leave us or forsake us.
- It is the same truth, Jesus proclaimed to his disciples.
- It is the same truth, the Holy Spirit within us reminds us of.
- It is a steadfast and a true promise
- Even in their suffering there was gain and there was blessing.
- The blessing may not have directly resulted for them, but it was a huge testament to all around them.
- The suffering was not pretty but they laid down their lives so it could be used for God’s glory.
- Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. (v36) They did not allow their faith to dwindle or these events to harden their hearts. Allowed God to use it for his glory.
Faith makes the impossible, possible.
- And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. V11
- When you read this account in Genesis it states how Sarah laughed when she first received the news, she would bear a son in her old age. It was such a crazy idea that someone of her age would bear a child.
- In Hebrews, it states she considered him faithful who had made the promise.
- How wonderful and encouraging are those words. It made no worldly sense but when it came from God, it made perfect sense.
- Sarah gave birth to Isaac, not in her timing but in perfect timing with God’s will.
- May we always be encouraged that it is God who will have the final word.
- The miraculous act of the Red Sea parting, how frightening and bewildering it must have been. Where the Israelites had seen a barrier, God used as an instrument to show his faithfulness to his people.
- By faith the people passed through the Red Sea on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned. (v29)
- There are so many more accounts but the walls of Jericho was an incredible act of God’s faithfulness. The Israelites had not taken to the wall with sledgehammers, etc but had followed the commands of God and God did the rest.
- By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the army had marched around them for seven days. (v30)
- May we be encouraged that even if it looks impossible to us. If it is God’s will, He will always make a way.
Faith leads to a new identity.
- As each of these individuals encountered the Lord and started to trust and have faith in where God was leading them. Their perception of what life was started to change.
- In Hebrews it states, Instead they were longing for a better country- a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. (v16)
- Their faith was not simply used to give them a pleasant life on earth. They were allowing the Lord to captivate their heart and mind and their faith was placed in seeing God’s will done. It was not being used to glorify themselves or give them comfort.
- None of these people were perfect in what they did but their hearts were ultimately for the Lord and he was able to use their lives for His glory.
- These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. (v39-40)
- God is faithful to all his promises which work out in accordance with His timing.
- May our spirit, our heart and mind come so alive with faith that we endeavour to see heaven wherever we may go. Lives that seek God’s kingdom are used in mighty ways for God’s glory.
- Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great crowd of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfector of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12v1-3)
- Living a life of faith, does not mean we need to be perfect but we need to have a whole-hearted trust in God. Trusting in His promises and in His character.
- A life of faith means allowing the Lord to lead us even to the unknown places.
- It will lead to trials and challenges but there will also be blessing along the way.
- As we continue our life of faith it will lead our minds and hearts to be more kingdom focused as we focus on God’s will. Not only for our life but for His whole creation.
- Living a life of faith means looking beyond ourselves, it is a life laid down to serve others in accordance to God’s will.
- Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds (Hebrews 10v22-24)