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Text: Hebrews 11:23-40
1. What kind of faith leads “to the saving of the soul” (Hebrews 10:39)?
a. It is “Faith That Pleases God” – Hebrews 11:1-7
1) That has confidence and conviction in things hoped for, in things unseen
2) That believes God is, and that He rewards those who seek Him
3) That worships like Abel, walks like Enoch, and works like Noah
b. It is “Faith That Embraces The Promises” – Hebrews 11:8-22
1) Obeying God when He calls, even it means sojourning as a pilgrim, or sacrificing that which is most precious to you (Abraham)
2) Receiving strength from God to do His will (Sarah)
3) Declaring the promises of God from generation to generation (Isaac, Jacob, Joseph)
2. Saving faith is also “Faith That Overcomes The World”, concerning which:
a. The apostle John wrote in 1 John 5:4-5
b. We have many examples in He 11:23-40
I. FAITH IN THE GENERATION OF THE EXODUS (Hebrews 11:23-31)
A. THE FAITH OF MOSES’ PARENTS (Hebrews 11:23)
1. They hid Moses for three months – Exodus 2:1-3; Acts 7:20
a. They saw he was a “beautiful” (“good”, “proper”, “not ordinary”) child
b. They were not afraid of Pharaoh’s command – Exodus 1:22
2. It was their faith that gave them courage to withstand the king’s edict with such a small beginning, by faith they “overcame the world” of Egypt
B. THE FAITH OF MOSES (Hebrews 11:24-28)
1. He refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter – Hebrews 11:24-26
a. He chose to suffer affliction with God’s people rather than enjoy sin’s temporary pleasures
b. He esteemed the reproaches of Christ more valuable than the treasures of Egypt
c. Through faith “he looked to the reward” (he had confidence in “things hoped for”, that heavenly reward)
2. He forsook Egypt – Hebrews 11:27
a. It was not the wrath of the king that he feared
b. It was the invisible God he feared – Matthew 10:28
c. Through faith “he endured” (he had conviction in “things unseen”, God)
3. He kept the Passover and sprinkling of blood – Hebrews 11:28
a. He believed in God’s warning regarding the death of the firstborn – Exodus 12:1-30
b. He had Israel sprinkle the blood of the lamb on the lintels and door posts
4. By faith, Moses “overcame the world” of Egyptian bondage!
C. THE FAITH OF THE NATION OF ISRAEL (Hebrews 11:29-30)
1. They passed through the Red Sea – Hebrews 11:29
a. They walked through it on dry land – Exodus 14:21-22
b. The Egyptians who followed them perished in the sea – Exodus 14:23-28
2. They destroyed the city of Jericho – Hebrews 11:30
a. They walked around the city for seven days – Josh 6:1-20
b. Thirteen times they encircled the city, showing their faith in God rather than in their own military might
3. By faith, Israel “overcame the world” of Egypt and Palestine!
D. THE FAITH OF RAHAB THE HARLOT (Hebrews 11:31)
1. She had received the two spies from Israel with peace – Joshua 2:1-24
2. Therefore she did not perish with the unbelievers – Joshua 6:22-25
3. By faith, Rahab “overcame the world” of sin and doubt!
II. FAITH IN THE LAND OF PROMISE (Hebrews 11:32-40)
A. A SAMPLE LIST OF HEROES OF FAITH (Hebrews 11:32)
1. There is not enough time for the author to describe the faith of others in detail
2. Such as:
a. Judges like Gideon, Barak, Samson, and Jephthah
b. A king like David
c. A prophet like Samuel, and the rest of the prophets
B. A SUMMARY LIST OF WHAT FAITH ACCOMPLISHED (Hebrews 11:33-37)
1. Through faith, people such as these:
a. “Subdued kingdoms”
1) Joshua, in conquering Palestine – Joshua 12:7-24
2) David, in conquering neighboring nations – 2 Samuel 5:4-25; 2 Samuel 8:1-14
b. “Worked righteousness” (administered justice)
1) Samuel, as judge – 1 Samuel 12:4
2) David, as king – 2 Samuel 8:15
3) Solomon, as king – 1 Kings 3:28
c. “Obtained promises”
1) The nation of Israel, receiving the promised land – Joshua 21:43-45; Joshua 23:14
d. “Stopped the mouths of lions”
1) Samson – Judges 14:6
2) David, protecting sheep – 1 Samuel 17:34-37
3) Daniel, in the lions’ den – Daniel 6:21-22
e. “Quenched the violence of fire”
1) Shadrach, Meshach, Abed-nego, in the fiery furnace – Daniel 3:23-25
f. “Escaped the edge of the sword”
1) David, fleeing King Saul – 1 Samuel 23:19-29
2) Elijah, fleeing Jezebel – 1 Kings 19:8-10
3) Elisha, whom the King of Israel wanted murdered – 2 Kings 6:31-32
g. “Out of weakness were made strong”
1) Samson, after his hair was cut – Judges 16:29-30
2) Hezekiah, who was given fifteen years of life – Isaiah 38:1-8
h. “Became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of aliens”
1) David, in defeating Goliath – 1 Samuel 17:50
2) Jehoshaphat, in defeating Edom – 2 Chronicles 20:1-30
3) Hezekiah, whose faith led to the slaughter of 185,000 Assyrian soldiers – 2 Kings 19:1-36
2. Also through faith
a. “Women received their dead raised to life again”
1) The widow of Zarephath, via Elijah – 1 Kings 17:17-24
2) The Shunamite woman, via Elisha – 2 Kings 4:8-37
b. “Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, to obtain a better resurrection”
1) Eleazar, in the Maccabean period between the Testaments – 2 Macc 6:30
2) Seven brothers and their mother tortured by Antiochus Epiphanes – 2 Macc 7:9-36
3) Such events would have been well known by the Hebrew readers
c. “Others had trials of mockings, scourgings, chains and imprisonment”
1) Micaiah, the prophet – 1 Kings 22:24-28
2) Jeremiah, the prophet – Jeremiah 20:1-3; Jeremiah 37:11-21; Jeremiah 38:1-13
d. Some were:
1) “Stoned” – Zechariah, son of Jehoida the priest – 2 Chronicles 24:20-22
2) “Sawn in two” – the prophet Isaiah, according to tradition
3) “Tempted” – Daniel, as a youth – Daniel 1:8-21
4) “Slain with the sword” – Urijah the prophet – Jeremiah 26:20-23
e. Some wandered about:
1) “In sheepskins and goatskins” – Elijah – 2 Kings 1:8
2) “Being destitute, afflicted, tormented” – Elijah – 1 Kings 17:2-6; 1 Kings 18:9-10
C. WHAT THESE PEOPLE RECEIVED BY THEIR FAITH (Hebrews 11:38-40)
1. Certainly not the praise of the world! – Hebrews 11:38
a. Many had to wander in deserts and mountains, live in dens and caves (Elijah)
b. But in truth, the world is not worthy of them!
2. They did obtain a good testimony – Hebrews 11:39a
a. As stated regarding the elders – Hebrews 11:2
b. As stated regarding Enoch – Hebrews 11:5
3. Yet they did not obtain “the promise” during their lifetime – Hebrews 11:39b-40
a. They did receive some of the promises, such as the promised land – Hebrews 11:33
b. But they did not receive “the” promise
1) They did not live to see the coming of the promised Deliverer (Christ)
2) Nor did they experience the “perfection” which Christ now offers
a) The Law could not make them “perfect” – Hebrews 9:9-10; Hebrews 10:1-4
b) But Christ can! – Hebrews 9:11-14; Hebrews 10:11-14
4. What they did not receive during their lifetime, they did with the coming of Christ!
a. For Christ died to redeem them as well as us! – Hebrews 9:15
b. They are now made “perfect” just as we are – Hebrews 11:40; Hebrews 10:14; Hebrews 12:22-24
1) Note the phrase “the spirits of just men made perfect” – Hebrews 12:23
2) Those who in the past “should not be made perfect apart from us” are in Christ “made perfect”!
1. Through faith, they truly overcame the world
a. Sometimes their victory was miraculous; often it was not
c. Their ultimate victory was that they “died in faith” – Hebrews 11:13-16
d. And now, they enjoy the fruit of faith: joy in the presence of the Lamb! – Revelation 7:9-17
2. Through faith, we can also overcome the world
a. Faith in Jesus as the Son of God will give us the victory! – 1 John 5:4-5
1) Victory over the world’s temptations
2) Victory over the world’s persecutions
b. The victories we win may not be as impressive as those listed in this chapter, but if we are “faithful until death”, the reward will be the same! – Revelation 2:10
3. May this great chapter with its heroes of faith, serve to motivate us to grow in the faith which:
* Pleases God!
* Embraces The Promises!
* Overcomes The World!
4. We may not win the praise the world, but we will receive the praise of God, for such is the faith which leads “to the saving of the soul”!
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Text: James 1:2-8
1. Perhaps you have seen the bumper sticker: “When life hands you a lemon, make lemonade!”
2. It is easier to smile at that statement than to practice it, but the basic philosophy is sound
a. In fact, it is Biblical
b. Throughout the Bible are people who turned defeat into victory and trials into triumph
c. Instead of being VICTIMS, they became VICTORS
3. The Epistle of James tells us that we can have this same experience today!
a. Whether we are dealing with trials on the outside
b. Or temptations on the inside
c. Through faith in God and Jesus Christ we CAN experience victory!
4. The KEY to turning trials into triumph is to obey four imperatives:
a. COUNT – James 1:2
b. KNOW – James 1:3
c. LET – James 1:4
d. ASK – James 1:5-8
I. “COUNT IT ALL JOY WHEN YOU FALL INTO VARIOUS TRIALS” (James 1:2)
A. NOTICE THAT JAMES ASSUMES THAT WE WILL EXPERIENCE TRIALS
1. He doesn’t say “if” but “when”
2. This is because Christians must expect trials
a. So said Jesus – John 16:33
b. Paul also – Acts 14:22
3. The nature of these trials are “various”
a. Some trials come simply because we are human
1) Sickness, accidents
2) Disappointments, death
b. Other trials come because we are Christians – 1 Peter 4:12; 2 Timothy 3:12
4. But because Satan fights us, and the world opposes us, we can expect trials!
B. WHAT IS TO BE THE CHRISTIAN’S RESPONSE? – “COUNT IT ALL JOY!”
1. This was the attitude of:
a. The apostles – Acts 5:41
b. Paul – Romans 5:3; Philippians 2:17-18
c. The Christians – 1 Peter 1:6-8; 4:12-14
2. So the first step to turning trials into triumph is to: immediately thank God and adopt a joyful attitude!
II. “KNOWING THAT THE TESTING OF YOUR FAITH PRODUCES PATIENCE” (James 1:3)
A. THE RIGHT KNOWLEDGE CONCERNING THE VALUE OF TRIALS MAKES IT POSSIBLE TO HAVE A JOYFUL ATTITUDE
1. We are to understand that:
a. Trials test our faith
b. Faith tested can bring out the best in us!
1) Just as fire purifies gold – 1 Peter 1:7
2) Just as training makes the athlete stronger
2. With this understanding, we can have joy in trials because we know that:
a. Testing works FOR us, not AGAINST us – cf. 2 Corinthians 4:17
b. Trials rightly used help us to mature
B. SPECIFICALLY, FAITH TESTED PRODUCES “PATIENCE”…
1. Notice Romans 5:3-4
2. In the BIBLE…
a. “Patience” is NOT a passive acceptance of circumstances
b. The GREEK word is HUPOMONE
1) From the preposition HUPO (under), and MENO (to remain, to abide)
2) It denotes the ability to exhibit stedfastness and constancy in the face of the most formidable difficulty!
c. It is a courageous perseverance in the face of suffering!
d. It is the continuing on even when it is rough, despite the circumstances
3. Such a quality of stedfastness can come only through experiencing trials
4. The value of developing PATIENCE will be seen shortly
5. Having this understanding about what trials can accomplish enables us to have a joyful attitude
III. “LET PATIENCE HAVE ITS PERFECT WORK” (James 1:4)
A. TO TRULY TURN TRIALS INTO TRIUMPH, WE MUST LET “PATIENCE” DO IT’S WORK
1. Too often, we want to get our trials or difficulties over with quickly
2. But there are times when the best course is to bear up under the trial patiently
a. Instead of grumbling and complaining
b. …patiently endure the trial, doing good despite the trial
B. FOR WHEN PATIENCE HAS HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO WORK, IT PRODUCES MATURITY
1. The word PERFECT does not mean sinlessness, but completeness, wholeness, maturity
2. In the New Testament, it is used of those who:
a. Have attained to spiritual manhood in Christ
b. Have reached full maturity and understanding in spiritual matters
c. Are no longer “babes” and immature persons in Christ
3. Such maturity comes only when patience has had time to work!
a. Consider, for example, an endurance runner in his training
1) To be a mature runner requires letting patience do its work
2) That is, patiently running mile after mile in training
b. If we wish to run the race well spiritually speaking, we need to develop patience
1) Which comes only through a form of spiritual “resistance training”
2) That is, trials in which our faith is put to the test!
c. Letting patience have its perfect work is not easy. It certainly requires wisdom which enables us to see the value of our trials.
IV. “LET HIM ASK OF GOD” (1:5-8)
A. IF WE LACK WISDOM, ASK FOR IT FROM GOD!
1. He has promised to give it liberally
2. And He will not reproach us for making such a request
3. Even as Solomon’s request for wisdom was well-pleasing to God – 1 Kings 3:7-12
B. WHAT EXACTLY IS THIS “WISDOM”?
1. We should be careful to distinguish “wisdom” from “knowledge”
a. Knowledge involves information, facts, etc.
b. Wisdom is the ability or insight to properly use those facts in the most expeditious way
2. Failure to understand this distinction has led many into error!
a. Many believe that this passage (Jm 1:5-8) teaches that God will give knowledge concerning His Will in answer to prayer
b. But knowledge comes only through His Word; we must carefully study it if we would know the Will of God!
c. However, the WISDOM to properly use His Word can be received through prayer
C. THE WISDOM TO PROPERLY USE TRIALS AND TURN THEM INTO TRIUMPH CAN LIKEWISE COME THROUGH “PROPER” PRAYER
1. Proper prayer is that asked in faith and with no doubt
2. Otherwise, the prayer will not be answered by God
1. So here is the key to turning trials into triumph:
a. Having the knowledge and perspective that adversity can accomplish much good
b. Letting the patient enduring of adversity accomplish its work
c. All the while using the wisdom God gives in answer to prayer to help put it all together
2. When this is done, even trials can be a source of joy for the Christian!
3. Have we learned to make lemonade out of our lemons in life?