Mar 17, 2024. Hebrews 11:30-31

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AND THE WALLS FELL DOWN.  Hebrews 11:30-31. 3/17/2024. #39.

30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days. 31 By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace.

1. Faith knocks down walls

                a. Joshua 6 the story of the conquest of Jericho is one of faith and trust in the Lord

                                a1. Jericho was a large walled city

                                a2. The Jews had no siege weapons

                b. As Joshua was contemplating the battle against Jericho, an angel stood before him

                                a1. The angel gave him a strange battle plan centered on walking and shouting rather than weapons and shooting

                                a2. It took faith to accept a plan that made no military sense

                c. The miracles of God are supernatural, so they defy the natural order (a 90 yr. old woman giving birth, opening of the Red Sea, water from a rock, walls falling down on their own, etc.)

                                a1. God tested the faith of His children, and provided the miracles that proved that He, and not man, had acted

                                a2. Faith is tested in its obedience and proven in the results

                d. Faith is not presumption

                                a1. It is not believing in a desired result

                                a2. It isn’t looking for a preconceived outcome

                                a3. Romans 10:17 faith is trusting obedience that is led by God to do God’s will (Job, Daniel)

                e. The walls fell because the Jews acted in obedience to do what God led them to do

2. From harlot to heroine

                a. Rahab is one of the most unusual faith stories

                                a1. She was an Amorite of ill repute

                                a2. She was an enemy by nationality

                b. Rahab had a hearsay faith

                                a1. Joshua 2:8-14 Rahab came to faith by hearing and believing the stories of the Exodus

                                                b1. The Red Sea was opened 40 years previously

                                                b2. More recently, Israel defeated Og and Sihon across the Jordan

                                a2. Rahab showed more faith and trust than many of the Israelites who saw the miracles

                c. Rahab hid the spies who came to her

                                a1. She deceived the king to save the spies

                                a2. By choosing to believe God, she also chose to side with God’s people

                d. Every Amorite in Jericho could have made the same choice, since they heard the same reports

                                a1. Most people resist God despite evidence

                                a2. Rahab chose to go against the majority

                e. Ruth is the only Gentile in Hall of Faith

                                a1. Besides Sarah, she is the only woman

                                a2. She led her entire family to faith

                                a3. James 2:25 it was Rahab’s actions which demonstrated her faith

                f. Rahab was a converted woman

                                a1. She no longer followed idol worship

                                a2. She trusted in the God of Israel

                                a3. She changed her profession from harlotry to being the wife of Salmon of Judah

                                a4. She became an ancestor to David and to Christ (not the mother-in-law to Ruth, since there are 300 years between the 2)

3. A faith that is countercultural

                a. Rahab believed against prevailing opinion

                b. Rahab accepted the evidence presented to her

                c. Rahab acted upon her faith, even risking death

                d. Rahab rejected her former training and culture

                e. Rahab identified with God’s people and changed

                f. Rahab did not waver and was rewarded for her faith

                g. Rahab’s faith was decisive, simple

Key passage: Joshua 2:8-148 Now before they lay down, she came up to them on the roof, 9 and said to the men: “I know that the Lord has given you the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you. 10 For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were on the other side of the Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. 11 And as soon as we heard these things, our hearts melted; neither did there remain any more courage in anyone because of you, for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath. 12 Now therefore, I beg you, swear to me by the Lord, since I have shown you kindness, that you also will show kindness to my father’s house, and give me a true token, 13 and spare my father, my mother, my brothers, my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.” 14 So the men answered her, “Our lives for yours, if none of you tell this business of ours. And it shall be, when the Lord has given us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with you.”

Mar 10, 2024. Hebrews 11:23-29

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PALACE OR PROMISE? Hebrews 11:23-29. 3/10/2024. #38

23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king’s command. 24 By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, 26 esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward. 27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he who destroyed the firstborn should touch them. 29 By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, whereas the Egyptians, attempting to do so, were drowned.

1. The cradle of faith

a. The faith of Moses begins with his parents

a1. Ex. 2 Pharaoh had sent out a decree that all Israelite boy babies born would be cast into the Nile River

a2. Amram and Jochebed saw that Moses was a beautiful (special or unique) child, so they hid him for 3 months

b. A repeated theme: they did not fear the king

a1. Their bravery was due to their faith, not some natural courage

a2. They feared God over the king

c. Faith allows us to stand against a hostile world to testify of our trust in Christ

a1. Not a faith of protection, but of assurance that God is with us and is pleased with us

a2. Moses’s heritage of faith is from parents

2. The choice of faith

a. Moses was raised in the palace and could have lived a comfortable life of privilege

a1, He refused to be called the princess’s son

a2. He rejected the idolatry of Egypt

b, Moses held onto his faith despite indoctrination

c. Moses preferred to suffer with his people than to enjoy the pleasures of royalty for a season

a1. Moses consciously rejected paganism

a2. Moses accepted the training his parents gave him as a child and held to it in testing

d. Moses was enticed by pleasure and threatened with suffering and death (Acts 7:17-40)

a1. Moses refused to be lured by the luxuries of Egypt

a2. Moses sensed the call of God to lead his people out of Egypt

3. The crown of faith

a. Moses is mentioned 11 times in Hebrews

a1. People have forgotten the name of Pharaoh

a2. Moses left Egypt and lived in Midian

b. Moses fled Egypt in faith

a1. Debate as to whether vs. 27 refers to Moses running from Pharaoh or leading Israel out

a2. “Forsook” (left) seems to refer to him fleeing

c. Moses literally forsook the land of Egypt

a1. Moses forsook the faith of Egypt

a2. Moses forsook the wealth of Egypt

d. Moses sought to follow the invisible God for a greater reward to come (Acts 7:17-25)

a1. By faith Moses rejected the lure of this world to pursue eternal gain

a2. His rejection of all the wealth and power offered him allowed him to be used of God

e. Moses’s deeds superseded all that he left behind

a1. By faith he led the people in the Passover so that the Hebrew children would be safe

a2. By faith Moses led Israel in the desert for 40 years after the Red Sea crossing

f. Moses never entered the Promised Land due to speaking rashly at the rock (Psalm 106:32-33).

a1. Yet, he trusted God for a greater reward

a2. A life of faith is a struggle, but the future rewards are far greater than the brief trials

g. The choice of faith is a rejection of the world’s values

Key passage: Acts 7:17-25

17 “But when the time of the promise drew near which God had sworn to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt 18 till another king arose who did not know Joseph. 19 This man dealt treacherously with our people, and oppressed our forefathers, making them expose their babies, so that they might not live. 20 At this time Moses was born, and was well pleasing to God; and he was brought up in his father’s house for three months. 21 But when he was set out, Pharaoh’s daughter took him away and brought him up as her own son. 22 And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds. 23 “Now when he was forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren, the children of Israel. 24 And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended and avenged him who was oppressed, and struck down the Egyptian. 25 For he supposed that his brethren would have understood that God would deliver them by his hand, but they did not understand.

Mar 3, 2024. Hebrews 11:17-22

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PATRIARCHS OF PROMISE. Hebrews 11:17-22. 3/03/2024. #37.

17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, 18 of whom it was said, “In Isaac your seed shall be called,” 19 concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense. 20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come. 21 By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff.

22 By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel, and gave instructions concerning his bones.

1. Abraham put to the test

                a. Abraham and Sarah waited a long time for a son

                                a1. Abraham was promised a land he did not possess and a progeny he did not have

                                a2. Abraham was promised to be a great man in

                                    whom all families on earth would be blessed

                b. When Sarah bore a son at 90, she called him Isaac (laughing), for she laughed with incredulity and joy

                c. As Isaac grew, he was labeled the son of promise

                d. When God commanded Abraham to sacrifice Isaac many things must have gone through his mind

                                a1. God had promised Isaac as the fulfillment of God’s stated plan

                                a2. Genesis 9:6 God had decreed murder was a horrendous sin, punishable by death

                                a3. God’s promises can’t fail, so Abr. Believed that God would raise Isaac from the dead

                                                b1. Genesis 22:26 God told his servants to wait behind and both would return

                                                b2. Abraham’s faith in God’s word was solid

                e. Isaac was called by God Abraham’s only son

                                a1. Only means unique son (monogenes), for Abraham had other sons (Ishmael, and later the sons borne by Keturah)

                                a2. Monogenes is used of Jesus in John 3:16, for Jesus was the uniquely begotten son, and all other sons have been adopted

                f. Abraham received Isaac back from the dead

                                a1. Abraham had offered up Isaac, fully intending to sacrifice him (trusted God)

                                a2. God stopped Abr. and gave Isaac back to him, replacing Isaac with a ram

                                a3. Unlike Eli, who did not honor God over his sons, Abraham was willing to give God his son

                                a4. Later, God gave His Son for us

2. Isaac, the great link

                a. Isaac was a peaceful, quiet man, who kept moving further south to remove himself from harassment

                b. Even though Isaac thought that he was blessing Esau, when he blessed Isaac, he later recognized that Jacob was the son of promise

3. Jacob, a mixed bag

                a. Jacob was a man of faith, but he had his issues

                                a1. He was manipulative, conniving, and greedy

                                a2. He showed favoritism and selfishness

                b. Jacob did believe the promises of God

                                a1. He believed that God was giving him and his descendants a great inheritance

                                a2. At the end of his life, Jacob described himself as having few days and hard

                c. When Jacob was old he passed the blessing on to his 12 sons (leaders of the 12 tribes)

                                a1. As Jacob laid on his bed or leaned on his staff (in Hebrew, either is possible), he gave each son, his future

                                a2. Much of the trouble Jacob had was his own doing, but he trusted in the Lord’s leading

                d. Joseph trusted the Lord and received a double portion in the land (Ephraim and Manasseh)

                                a1. Though, ruler of Egypt, his heart was in the Promised Land, so he wanted his bones taken there to be buried (Shechem)

                                a2. Acts 7:9-16 looked forward to a great reward

Key Passage: Acts 7:9-16

9 “And the patriarchs, becoming envious, sold Joseph into Egypt. But God was with him 10 and delivered him out of all his troubles, and gave him favor and wisdom in the presence of Pharaoh, king of Egypt; and he made him governor over Egypt and all his house. 11 Now a famine and great trouble came over all the land of Egypt and Canaan, and our fathers found no sustenance. 12 But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent out our fathers first. 13 And the second time Joseph was made known to his brothers, and Joseph’s family became known to the Pharaoh. 14 Then Joseph sent and called his father Jacob and all his relatives to him, [b]seventy-five people. 15 So Jacob went down to Egypt; and he died, he and our fathers. 16 And they were carried back to Shechem and laid in the tomb that Abraham bought for a sum of money from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem.

Feb 25, 2024. Hebrews 11:8-16

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ABRAHAM FOLLOWS GOD. Hebrews 11:8-16. 2/25/2024. #36.

8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; 10 for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. 11 By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude—innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore. 13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. 15 And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.

1. A promise beyond sight and experience

                a. The author spends more time on Abraham than any other person in the list

                b. Abraham is mentioned 10 times in book (15 by Luke and 11 by John)

                c. Abraham’s faith is viewed to be exceptional:

                                a1. Told by God to go to a land he did not know

                                a2. Led by God until God told him to stop

                                a3. He dwelt in the land as a stranger

                                a4. Told by God he would be given the entire land, but only ended with a burial field for Sarah

                                a5. Told by God that he would be a father of a great nation, but he had no children

                                a6. Told by God that through him all the families of the earth would be blessed

                d. In reality, Abraham wouldn’t personally experience any of the promises of God

                                a1. He lived in tents his entire life in the land

                                a2. He dwelt in no permanent building

                                a3. He was not master of the land

                                a4. He did not see a child born to his wife, Sarah, until he was 100 and she was 90

                                                b1. Sarah was well beyond child bearing

                                                b2. Abraham still believed in the promise

                e. No matter what Abraham saw, he trusted that God would honor His word

                                a1. Faith goes beyond sight and experience

                                a2. Faith has nothing to do with wishful thinking (claiming things God has not given)

                                a3. Acts 7:2-7 Abraham trusted God’s word

                g. Abraham’s faith survived not owning the land, not having a child when his body was “good as dead”, and not being a great nation

2. The Sarah passage

                a. The reference to Sarah is difficult, for she did not exhibit the same faith as Abraham (Genesis 18)

                b. The passage literally states she “provided seed”, which is not possible (deposited seed)

                c. The meaning seems to be that Sarah cooperated in receiving the seed that produced Isaac

                                a1. She submitted to Ab.’s faith and leadership

                                a2. Eventually, she also yielded to faith

3. Beyond the horizon

                a. Abraham looked forward and not back

                                a1. He would not go back to where he started

                                a2. Ab. looked for a city not made by hands

                b. Ab. was not troubled that he was not master of the land of promise (only place in the Bible Promised Land is used)

                c. Eventually, all that God had promised came true

                                a1. From Isaac and Jacob came a great nation

                                a2. 400 years after Abraham Moses lead his descendants to Canaan and Joshua led the conquest of the Land

                d. From Abraham descends Christ, in whom all the nations of the earth are blessed

                e. Due to Abraham’s unwavering faith, he is highly honored

                                a1. Faith does not need results to stay strong

                                a2. Matthew 28:20, He will never leave us = enough!

Key Passage: Acts 7:2-7

2 And he said, “Brethren and fathers, listen: The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Haran, 3 and said to him, ‘Get out of your country and from your relatives, and come to a land that I will show you.’ 4 Then he came out of the land of the Chaldeans and dwelt in Haran. And from there, when his father was dead, He moved him to this land in which you now dwell. 5 And God gave him no inheritance in it, not even enough to set his foot on. But even when Abraham had no child, He promised to give it to him for a possession, and to his descendants after him. 6 But God spoke in this way: that his descendants would dwell in a foreign land, and that they would bring them into bondage and oppress them four hundred years. 7 ‘And the nation to whom they will be in bondage I will judge,’ said God, ‘and after that they shall come out and serve Me in this place.’

Feb 18, 2024. Hebrews 11:4-7

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ABEL, ENOCH, & NOAH. Hebrews 11:4-7. 2/18/2024. #36.

4 By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks. 5 By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, “and was not found, because God had taken him”; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God. 6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. 7 By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.

1. The walk of Abel

                a. Abel, a man of firsts

                                a1. Abel, second male born on earth, was the first mentioned to be a keeper of flocks

                                a2. Abel is the first mentioned to offer a blood sacrifice (best of his flocks)

                                a3. Abel is the first mentioned to have is offering accepted

                                a4. Abel is the first person murdered

                b. Mt. 23:35 Jesus called him “righteous Abel”

                                a1. We do not know what other deeds or acts of worship Abel did

                                a2. At some point, God must have instructed Adam how to make sacrifices & what was acceptable to Him, so Adam told sons

                c. 1 Jn. 3:11-12 Cain is described as of the wicked one

                                a1. Even though Cain knew God, he was not a child of God, but a follower of Satan

                                a2. A contrast is made between Abel & Cain

                d. The righteous acts recorded of Abel:

                                a1. A worshipful attitude

                                a2. He gave God his best

                                a3. Humility before God

2. Enoch

                a. Jude 1:14-15 Jude was in the 7th generation from Adam

                                a1. Called a preacher of righteousness in an evil generation

                                a2. Prophesied that the Lord will return with tens of thousands of His saints to judge the earth (Mt. 25:31-46)

                b. God carried Enoch away (translated) without him dying

                                a1. Only Enoch & Elijah were translated (perhaps, to be the 2 witnesses in Revelation)

                                a2. Enoch was taken up at 365 (when many lived to be 900)

                c. Enoch demonstrated righteousness under stress

                                a1. Enoch lived & preached righteousness while surrounded by extreme wickedness

                                a2. Enoch steadfastly served God while being alone before God in his righteousness

3. Noah

                a. MT. 24:36-44 in the days of Noah, people were living life (eating, marrying, working…), not realizing their destruction was at hand

                b. 2 Pt. 2:5 Noah was a preacher of righteousness:

                                a1. Noah tried to convince men to repent

                                a2. No one would listen to him

                c. Through Noah’s righteousness he saved his family

                                a1. Noah’s family was the only people saved out of millions

                                a2. Righteousness knows how to stand alone for the Lord

                d. These 3 examples are pre-flood

                                a1. Abel continued in righteousness despite what his brother was doing (paid for it)

                                a2. Enoch & Noah lived & proclaimed righteousness in the face of extreme evil

                                                b1. They did not waver

                                                b2. They did not bemoan being alone

                e. Righteousness dares to be different & vocal

Key passage: Matthew 24:36-4436 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. 37 But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 38 For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 40 Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. 42 Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. 44 Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.