Thirteenth Lesson on Hebrews

In this thirteenth lesson on Hebrews we learn it's impossible to please God without faith.  Let's learn from the heroes of faith from the Old Testament so that we can be encouraged to pursue Christ wholeheartedly.

Read Hebrews 10:39 through 12:2

The author of Hebrews was writing to his audience during a critical time in their lives.  At this time the church was enduring serious persecution.  Hebrews 10:33 says they were reproached and afflicted.  Verse 34 lets us know that they had their property plundered and some were imprisoned for their faith.

Read Verse 39

In this thirteenth lesson on Hebrews we learn the Author wants to encourage the Christians.  He calls to a high standard.  Even though we do suffer persecution for Jesus we will not shrink back.  We are those who have faith because we recognize that faith in Jesus is the only way to be saved.

Because God’s grace is received through faith (Ephesians 2), it's critical to understand exactly what faith is, and how it can be strengthened despite the persecution that we may face as Christ followers.

Read Chapter 11 Verse 1

So what is Faith?

The Author tells us that when you have faith, you are sure of what you hope for.

And what do we hope for?

Hebrews 6:19 tells us that Jesus is our hope because He, as our Great High Priest, has entered into the inner place (see lesson 12 for more).  Because of Christ’s supremacy we can do more than hope for salvation.  We can be sure of the salvation that comes from our Christ.

Because of Christ’s supremacy we can be certain of what we don't see. 

In order to believe in something that you cannot see or experience you must have faith.  In other words, no faith is required for belief in gravity.  Drop your hat and it will fall to the ground every time.  You believe in the force of gravity, but this belief does not require faith.

As Christ followers, our faith is being certain of Christ’s ability to save us from the wrath that we deserve as sinners, even though this is truth that we will not see with our eyes until we come face-to-face with God.

Read Verse 2

It was by faith that the heroes of the Old Testament received commendation, or right standing, before God.  These Father’s and Mother’s of our faith are powerful testimonies.  The greatest part of their testimonies is that they found favor with God because of their faith.

The Author wants his audience and us to know that without faith, it's impossible to please God.

People believe a common misconception that working hard to be a good person will out weigh their sin.  But that's not how sin works!  If a man murdered one child, but then donated a large amount of money to an orphanage, does that outweigh his sin of murder?

Absolutely not!  You cannot work enough to cover your sin and please God.  It's impossible to please God without faith.

Read Verse 3

The Author starts with the most basic foundation of faith.  God is the creator of everything, and He made everything out of nothing.

In other words, He did not just reorganize what already existed.

This is an ability that only God has.  I could take some wood, cut it, shape it, glue it, and create a stool.  But only God can create a stool out of nothing.

Now the author will walk us through many powerful examples of faith from the Old Testament.

  • Verse 4 -  Cain worshiped by faith (Genesis 4:1-7).
  • Verse 5  -  Enoch walked by faith (Genesis 5:21-24).
  • Verse 6  -  Once again, it's impossible to please God without faith. How could you draw near to someone that you don’t believe in?!
  • Verse 7  -  Noah obeyed by faith (Genesis 6:9-7:16).
  • Verse 8  -  Abraham lived by faith (Genesis 12:1-4).
  • Verse 11 -  Sarah conceived by faith. (Genesis 21:1-7)
  • Verses 13 to 15  -  These men and woman continued to be faithful even if the promises that God gave were not fulfilled in their lifetimes. Abraham didn't see a great nation or the Promised Land. But even still, he had faith in God’s promises.
  • Verse 16 -  Even when we don’t see the fulfillment of God’s promises in this life, God is not ashamed.  He isn’t ashamed because He is faithful, and He knows that He will fulfill all that He promised.Consider that God’s greatest promise to His children, that of rest in His presence, will not be fulfilled till we die (or Christ returns) and God remakes the earth for us.Heaven is the better country that God’s faithful await.  His presence is the unshakable inheritance awaiting all of God’s children.
  • Verse 17 -  Abraham trusted by Faith when he offered Isaac (Genesis 22:1-14).
  • Verse 20 -  Isaac blessed his Sons by faith.  He believed in God’s promise and passed down this blessing (Genesis 27:27-29).
  • Verse 22 -  Joseph by faith instructed the people on how to inherit the land (Genesis 50:22-26).
  • Verse 23 -  Moses’ parents by faith disobeyed the pharaoh (Exodus 2:3).
  • Verse 24 -  Moses by Faith led his people out of Egypt (Exodus 12:40-42).
  • Verse 29 -  Israelites by Faith crossed the Red Sea (Exodus 14:21-31).
  • Verse 30 -  Joshua, and the people, by faith caused the walls of Jericho to fall (Joshua 6:1-21).
  • Verse 31 -  Rahab by faith aided the Israelites (Joshua 2:1-21).
  • Verses 32 to 35 -  Many more have glorified God by faith.  The author has only begun to list the plethora of people who pleased God by faith.
  • Verses 36 to 38 -  Many have people have endured terrible persecution for their faith.  And they have only endured by faith.
  • Verses 39 and 40 -  Even though many of these people had hard lives, they still held to their faith because they knew God had something better, salvation.

From Able to now, these men and woman testify with their lives,

that our faith is strengthened, not by our current circumstances

but because of the certainty of God’s promise.

Before we close this thirteenth lesson on Hebrews,
Read Chapter 12, Verses 1 and 2

Therefore, because of this, because of the certainty of God's promise we can run this race of life with endurance!

Here the Author is picturing our life as a race.  And even though it may be a long and hard race, our faith gives us the endurance to continue.

Also, we should drop anything that keeps us from running the very best that we can.  If Jesus is the finish line, Jesus is the motivation for our lives, our founder and perfecter of our faith, then we should remove anything that hinders us from running to Him.

When running the race toward Jesus, throw away anything that would slow you down.

Cast aside, sin, doubt, distraction, and fear.  Instead focus your eyes on Jesus.

› Lesson 13