God gives forgiveness, peace, and spiritual provision. Any further questions we may have are answered not by reasoned argument but by the example of faith set by the godly people remembered in Hebrews It might be better to say that faith is here personified through the record of the Old Testament. We start in Genesis at the creation itself: Faith looks at the data of creation and sees there really is a God v. The largest section of Hebrews 11 is given to the patriarch Abraham.
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So on it goes. By faith, they conquered kingdoms, stopped the mouths of lions, and became mighty in war. They endured torture and stood firm in the face of death. The thing to notice about these heroes is not their personality traits, their training, or their upbringing. We are not told that Abraham was a resourceful kind of person or that his personality made him suited for disappointment.
- Ephesians 6:10-18.
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The only thing that made him different from others was his faith, and by his faith what a difference he made for the whole world. How did a man like Moses turn his back in the prime of his life on the pinnacle of worldly power and pleasure and riches? He did it by faith! Without faith, none of these heroes of Hebrews 11 would have lived for God in the ways they did. But by faith, they lived with a power the world knows nothing about and gained a salvation the world has ignored. What really matters is not your strengths or weaknesses, your training or lack thereof. By faith you can be a spiritual hero.
Is it because of some power inherent to faith, or because faith will unleash your hidden potential?
Things as They Really Are
Not at all. Why is that? Because there is something faith will not do. Faith will not give you fame and fortune as the world reckons them. Their faith did not commend them to the world. Many of them were put to death because of their faith. What better to hope for than commendation from God—not just to be forgiven and received by faith, essential as that is, but to really please God with your life. What is it, then, that really matters in your life?
Armor of God Bible Study
Hebrews 11 says that what matters most about you, about every Christian, is your faith. Finally Samuel asked if there was anyone else and the answer of the family suggests that at least in their eyes, the only one left was the runt of the litter. David was summoned and was chosen as king. The reason he was chosen is that God knew what was in his heart. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. But the word of God not only reveals what is in our hearts, it is powerful to distinguish what is good and what is bad in our hearts.
How often do we find a way to justify sin by some excuse? It is easy to fool people with our motives. In fact, it is easy to make ourselves look good in front of people. The word of God, however, is able to separate between what is a good motive and what is a selfish motive. Jesus did this with the Pharisees. But Jesus accused them and said they were disobeying God by failing to take care of their parents.
The Pharisees came to Jesus with righteous anger, ready to stone a woman caught in adultery, but Jesus, by his question and his writing in the sand revealed the hypocrisy of their hearts. We can fool a lot of people by coming to church every Sunday and perhaps even teaching a Sunday School class, but the Word of God reveals whether our motives are to look good to other people or to serve the Lord because we love Him. I suspect we have all experienced that penetrating work of the word of God. You may even think that someone has talked to them and given them some inside information about you.
What he says goes. Two interesting words deserve reflection in this section. It means naked. In Greek times athletes exercised without much clothes on and so the places they exercised were called gymnasiums. To be naked is to be exposed. You know how you would feel if you were in front of other people without much clothes on. You feel vulnerable. In the presence of God we are naked.
God knows what is happening in the deepest recesses of our heart. God knows every excuse and thought pattern in our mind. The word of God exposes all that is in our hearts and we stand before God without any excuse or anything to hide behind. What is missing is that this is about the word of God.
From the Store
Do we really believe and live under the power of this word? Is it perhaps like the Wizard of Oz? In that movie there is an interesting scene in which Dorothy and her friends come to the house of the great wizard of Oz. They see a spectacular show of power, until Toto exposes the wizard behind the curtain and we realize that the wizard is actually a man with no power except the power of a good show.
I have 8 Bibles in my office, 9 translations on my computer and another 5 on my PDA. Does it do any good? As powerful as that word is, it sometimes appears that it has little effect! Yet God tells us in His word that He knows this. Just because it does not always change hearts does not mean that the word is not powerful. How do we understand this? When Jesus healed the man born blind in John 9, the Pharisees questioned the man and argued with him about all the ways in which Jesus could not be from God.
Are we blind too? We know that there are people who study the Bible in great depth, but because of unbelief it does not change their hearts. Jesus told the parable of the sower to demonstrate that it is up to the hearer whether or not the word of God will penetrate their heart.
The seed has the power of life in it, but it depends on the soil on which it falls. If it falls on the path or among the weeds or on the stone, it will not produce the harvest intended, but not because the seed does not have the power of life, but because the one receiving it does not allow it to grow.
Are we among them? So just because there are those who do not hear, does not mean the word is not powerful to them. That is actually what the warning in Hebrews 4 is all about.
A. Is Living and Active
This chapter is a warning that we need to respond to the powerful word of God through faith. If we come to the word without faith, we will not be changed by it. It has power to create and power to change lives. It has power to penetrate to the deepest recesses of our life and if we believe it, it will expose all that is in our hearts and minds and renew and restore us and change us into the image of God. But if we do not expose ourselves to this word, how can it change us? If we never let it penetrate more deeply than hearing one sermon a week in church, how will it help us divide between the motives that lead to life and those that lead to destruction?
If we never stop to take time to listen to God, how will His word change us? It requires a believing heart and an attentive heart. But if we refuse to listen to it, if we continue in disbelief and refuse to allow the word of God to reveal what is in our heart and change us, do we make it ineffectual by that refusal?
Does it become like the word of teachers that falls to the ground and dies? Are we more powerful than the word of God if we refuse to hear it? It remains powerful because if we refuse to be changed by it, we will be judged by it. The word of God is the basis on which we will be judged, so we have a choice. Either we can believe the word, expose our hearts to it and be changed by it, or on the final day, we will be judged by it. The Word of God serves either as our instructor or our judge.
We will have to answer to it one way or another. It is possible, through hardness of heart to ignore the word, to be blind, unseeing, unhearing, but it is not possible to remove ourselves from its effects. So we all have a choice to make. The word of God is powerful and living. The choice we have to make is, when do we want the word of God to be applied to us, now or later?