Hebrews 11 by Pastor Don
(Heather’s comment) At our Friday Bible studies we have been having a wonderful study in Hebrews, Chapter 11. In this study we are savoring the lives of all the people of faith mentioned in this chapter. Sometimes we get through three our four verses, other times we get through half a verse. So I hope you enjoy this excursion into Hebrews Chapter 11. During a Beth Moore study, Beth Moore had us imagine we were walking down the halls of an art museum and there were pictures of all the heroes of faith. She had us imagine what scene would be painted about Abraham, Noah, etc. Then she concluded with something that so wowed me. She said, write in your Bibles Hebrews 11:41. There is no verse 41 in Hebrews 11. She told us God keeps an album of when His children act in faith, and these people in Hebrews 11 were early ones, but God adds to His album, and Hebrews 11:41 is our verse – we were told to write: “By faith (your name) …. ” And record what we do by faith in God. I like that image, for we are often encouraged to step out in faith. Oh, if you are ever near West Hurley, New York on a Thursday evening at 7, or a Friday afternoon at 12:30, come to our Bible studies you would be so welcome. My notes do not do the Bible studies justice.
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Pastor Don told us that often, when people are saying they are in faith, they are really wishing and hoping. They have the wrong definition of faith.
Pastor Don said, if he decided in his mind to call a car a bicycle, but he does not tell us he has changed the word he is using for car to bicycle, we won’t communicate clearly. So if he told us to go out in the parking lot and get on our bicycles and ride, we would look out on the parking lot and see our cars, not realizing that he was using the term bicycle to refer to car. We would have the wrong definition of “bicycle” in Pastor Don’s terminology and that would cause confusion.
From the beginning of time people have used the words grace and faith and mercy, but have in their minds differing definitions. Faith will not work for us if we don’t have the right definition. When we have the wrong definition, when the meaning is confused, and things don’t work out the way we conceive them, we tend to say it’s the other person’s fault. We don’t say I messed up. We think the other person messed up, and we don’t admit where we are wrong. We often blame God, when it wasn’t God who messed up.
When we pray and don’t get answers, we begin to think God is a bad parent or ineffective. We don’t realize we erred in asking or that God would answer in the process of time and our impatience got in the way of God’s response.
Grace implies God’s ability to empower us to do something. The church’s definition of “grace” is unmerited favor but grace is much more than that, it is favor and power to do what God ordains. Pastor Don said, if he leaves a car in our driveway, and gives us the key and the registration, we are then empowered to drive ourselves to Kingston. If we sit in our house and moan and groan that no one is going to drive us to Kingston, yet we have the empowerment in the form of a car in the driveway to do so, is it that Pastor Don didn’t give us the ability to do so, or is it that we didn’t utilize what power (the car) we had to get to Kingston?
Pastor Don then shared about Paul’s thorn in the flesh, not a physical ailment as some would suppose, but really the fact that everywhere Paul wanted to minister there were people coming out of the woodwork, instruments of satan, to buffet and interfere with the message of the Gospel. God told Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you.” God was not saying, “my unmerited favor is sufficient for you.” He was telling Paul that God gave him the tools and through the Holy Spirit the power that Paul needed to deal with the situation. God was saying in effect, here’s the keys to the car – drive yourself to Kingston.
God is saying, get moving. God wants to steer, but He can’t steer a parked car. “Grace” is God empowering us so that we can do His will. Faith is God’s given ability to us so we can believe it. The wrong definition leads to confusion and we don’t get things done, and end up blaming God and then the whole thing shuts down on us.
We are all control freaks and whining babies. It is one thing to say, “God is sovereign.” But we don’t really believe that. God is sovereign and His Holy Spirit will help us. God has relinquished to us free will, and often we delegate our trust to things that do not work, thinking God is not sovereign over that situation in our lives. We need to fight for the freedom and power that God has delegated to us. We are responsible for the choices and actions that we do. Find out what are the rules of the universe.
God made everything by two principles.
1. The principle by faith, God believed it and spoke it into existence. God set the universe in space and time. It was first a picture in His mind, then He spoke it into existence. He believed that what He said would exist, and He released creative energy to bring it into existence. He formed it all out of nothing. Speaking something without faith does not result in the formation of it.
2. The principle believe what he spoke had to happen. The release of the Word matched to faith causes something to change. The Word of faith is a release of substantive creativity. When faith speaks, substantive creativity begins to happen. Angels were powerful Angels in the supernatural realm see things through the eyes of spiritual beings. Faith is a creative energy. We may not see the creative energy in the natural, but in the realm of the Spirit things are happening.
In the natural realm we have become convinced that SEEING IS BELIEVING. Substance is required for belief, but that is the reverse of what God’s plan for faith is. We want people to SHOW ME… then I will believe. But God wants us to believe, then He will show us.
All of us are not that spiritual.
Romans 4:17 (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did;
God took a 75-year-old man (Abraham) and told him he would have a son. That promise did not occur until Abraham was 99 years old. God in the present (when Abraham was 75) spoke it, but God was speaking for a time in the future. Yet, when God speaks to Abraham about his forthcoming son, God used the past tense. I HAVE MADE YOU. This, in God’s mind, was already done. God made it in His mind even though it was many years before the son was born.
We are made in God’s image, and in this we are like God. We have the ability to formulate something, see it in our mind, and speak it into the future (good things and not so good things). As humans we give it our best shot, but like God, in our vision we see it, and speak it into existence. Abraham heard God and believed God and it was counted to Abraham as righteousness. When God speaks it is not based on what He sees, but what He formulated in His mind. What God spoke is a process of creation that must take place. But to take place parts must be assembled. Everybody wants instant healing, but often that kind of healing doesn’t come instantly. There are things that must be put into place first. We have choices to make in our lifestyles that can also affect our health.
God calls what does not exist as though it does, it is a creative picture in His head. It is not what He sees in circumstances. In the mind of Christ, He sees Abraham as the father of many nations even though Abraham was old and had no children.
Romans 4:18 who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall your descendants be.”
What was SPOKEN. Hear what faith says. Decide to believe. What do we believe, according to what was spoken. It was spoken into existence. It IS substance. It is not “going to believe (in the future after it manifests),” but “believe (present tense) even though our circumstances do not show that it is in existence. When we believe (present tense) the natural has to line up with the supernatural. In our minds we believe it is the other way around. In our mind we are control freaks and want our control to be dominant.
Romans 7:8 But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead.
All manner of evil desire. Little kids, when they are young, have no concept of sin or evil. For our pot luck lunch someone had a few cookies on a plate in front of her. There were little kids present. Pastor Don pointed out that if this little child (2 years old) wanted a cookie, and went up and took the cookie off the plate, they would not realize that they had done anything wrong. If the person with the plate of cookies had put up a sign saying, “Ethel’s cookies, do not touch.” The little child could not read the sign and would not be accountable for what was written on it. They see the cookie and take the cookie. Before the age of accountability they do not know the law. If the child reaches for the cookie and Ethel slaps her hand the kid doesn’t understand why they were slapped. It is better to explain to the child before resorting to punishment or else that punishment is only teaching the child that someone bigger has more strength to hurt the child – or might makes right. Until the age of accountability, there is no concept of sin.
Romans 7:9 I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died.
When we are little and do not know right from wrong we are alive without the law. Pastor Don pointed out that sometimes people accuse him of things that he did not do knowingly – they ascribe motivation to him that was not his intent. One example he uses is that on a Sunday he was leaving his office and in his mind going over the points of his sermon on his way to the pulpit. When that happens he does not always notice people in the lobby, or go over and give them a hug or a greeting, his mind might be focused on something else entirely. One member got offended because he did not greet her and the truth was that he did not see her. He told her that she could come up to him if she wanted a hug. He had not deliberately slighted her. Pastor Don then said that when we have had troubles in our past, and had messed up human relations, it is a shame that we don’t wear a sign that describes that. You know, “I was abused as a child. Therefore I am edgy and defensive concerning you and I don’t like men in authority.” When we meet people we like, we see the best part, but there are dragons in our closets. If we don’t know what those dragons are, we end up stepping on the person’s toe, offending them, and then they start building a list of grievances.
Pastor Don pointed out that when a person gets hired, everyone is a good worker for two weeks, then you find out what kind of worker they really are.
It takes more time to work out stuff. It takes a long time to become aware of who people really are. When we come into the world we don’t have a clue. We don’t know all the slick things, needs, responses, etc. Kids need to learn the rules. As kids they have an open relationship with the Spirit of God, and kids will believe what we tell them. That is why Sunday School is so important. We can tell them the truth at a young age, and build foundations that will keep them connected to God before the flesh and culture begins to affect them. Little people naturally have the gift of faith. They believe God hears you when you pray. They believe Jesus died for me and Jesus is coming soon. We don’t want to lie to them. And often we put worldly things to them that can confuse them, for example what does a rabbit bringing eggs have to do with the resurrection?
Once we grow to the point where we can read and understand the commandments, then sin is revived. We begin to be aware of sin and then sin is revived and we die.
Pastor Don gave the example of driving the car down Route 28. In the early days there were no traffic signs listing speed. We could go as fast as we wanted. Once a speed limit sign is placed on the road and we go faster than the speed listed on the sign we break the law. Before the sign there was no law and no sin of speeding.
But in this day and age we are now in a period of lawlessness and in the book of Judges, God even told us that every man did what was right in his own eyes. If there was no police, no DA, and no one to tell us what was right, some people would habitually do lawless acts.
Proverbs 14:12 There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.
Power in the universe is based on faith and the spoken Word. We have access to the power of God, and if we agree with what God spoke, and line up with that, the end is good. If we see something and the end of it is opposite to God, then no good will come out of it. We make choices not in faith, and out of alignment with God’s will, and then we end up with things that are not good, even though it is what we spoke. Then, of course, we blame God for the bad things in our lives, but it is really our choices out of line with God’s will that produced the negative.
Hebrews 11 teaches us that God gives us the grace and ability to do things. Faith is like electricity in the universe. Faith comes with power and ability. Electricity is a current, and if it is unharnessed, and used in a wrong manner it will kill you. If you plug into it in a correct way, it will work for you. Faith has the power to destroy and it also has the power for good. Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Faith is is a substance not seen – the WARRENTY or DEED. If we buy a house or real estate and are given the deed, people assume that they have the land, even if they haven’t seen the land – it may be 15 miles away, but they have the deed. Pastor Don has a time share in Florida, he signed the papers in New York, and when the week of his time share comes up, he gets in the car and drives to the time share, knowing it is there even if he didn’t see it when he signed the papers.
In the process of faith, we begin by hoping – getting a mental picture of the thing, and then as time goes on it crosses over into the realm of faith, and then we accept it as a fact. When we believe in faith, then we begin acting out of faith and not out of hope. As far as people around us are concerned, there may be no change in circumstances, but our faith has grabbed a hold of the picture. We have the deed.
Our natural is built by faith of the person in the supernatural realm first. Faith is the electricity a believer uses to access it. We can rest in hope and not cross into the realm of faith, into the realm of seeing it as accomplished.
Pastor Don told us that our expectations can cause disappointments. Why? Without Godly hope and faith our expectations cause disappointments. Many people divorce because they have unrealistic expectations about what their marriage will be like, and when these expectations are not met, they become disillusioned and choose divorce.
If we have ungoldy hope and faith and expectation in the relationship, no amount of giving can fix it, and we take it out on the person who can’t fix it, and blame the problem on the other person. Really, the problem is not the other person, but our expectations. The only effective answer is to wait and seek God, lining up with His will in our life.
Do you love this study in Hebrews 11? The study continued and we actually spent time in the book of Hebrews. I will share the second half of the study tomorrow. Praying your day is blessed.
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