Friday, February 23, 2018

Expressions of Faith. Hebrews 11 - Faith #4

By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.
 Hebrews 11:31

If a commercial advertising agency was writing a sales pitch for Christianity, Rahab would not make the list of exemplary followers of God.

The inclusion of many events that are appalling from a humanist perspective and many people who are less than godly combine to make a powerful argument for the reliability of the Bible.
  • Rahab was a prostitute.
  • She was a skilled liar.
  • On a superficial level, all she’s recorded as doing is saving her own skin. (See Joshua 2 and Joshua 6 for her story.)

However, Rahab is included with Abraham and Moses as examples of faithfulness.

Rahab’s story makes you think about what faith is.

Go back four Fridays to Faith #1 and re-read the five translations of the writer’s definition of faith.

How do the actions of a lying, conniving prostitute fit those definitions?

 SPOT ON! That’s how they fit. 

Thank God right now for His love for you.

The next time you see a ribbon of any color dangling from a building, thank Him for Rahab and millions like her who put their faith in God despite overwhelming opposition.

Last week I called Abraham the Poster Child for faith.
Turns out that, all faithful people are as much poster children for God’s faithfulness as Abraham!

Are you poster material? 
If not, you can change that right now.

Ask Jesus to forgive you, 
and begin living a life of faithfulness!

Next Expression of Faith: Hebrews 11 – Faith #5
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Thursday, February 22, 2018

Timeless Truths. Living Between Faith and Fear

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said,“Peace be with you!”
John 20:19

So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”
Hebrews 13:6

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
1 John 4:18

Too many people live their lives in fear.
Life decisions tend to be based on fear.
Many worry about safety in their own home, so they purchase locks, shredders, and security systems.

The first-century church found themselves living in fear. They met behind locked doors and feared Jewish reprisal.

Our desire should be to live so fear cannot overtake us.

FOUR Things Fear Does

We take our eyes off God's vision for us.
We focus on the wrong things and so are hit by things unexpected.

It stops us and forces us to freeze.

In war, enemies are made less than human by fear.

In daily life, we dehumanize people by the terms we use to describe them.

Destruction is the ultimate end of fear.

We are put at odds by those we fear. This destroys relationships.

ONE Fear We Need

Fear of the Lord.

Proverbs provide an abundance of examples.

8:13To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.

9:10The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

10:27The fear of the LORD adds length to life, but the years of the wicked are cut short

14:27 The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, turning a person from the snares of death

15:33 Wisdom’s instruction is to fear the LORD, and humility comes before honor.

16:6 Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for; through the fear of the LORD evil is avoided.

19:23 - The fear of the LORD leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble.

Wisdom, life, and truth come from the fear/respect of the Lord.
Fear of the Lord is how it should impact life . . .
 . . . it is the opposite of the fear of man!

The letters John wrote show us how one of the fearful disciples in John 20:19 turned out.
God's love drives out fear!

What's faith go to do with fear?

John writes about overcoming fear through faith in God and His love for/in/through us.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
Hebrews 11:1
Faith requires trust.
Faith is not dictated by fear.

Thanks to Dr. Scott Peterson for the primary teaching in this post.

Next Timeless TruthThe Cure for Ailing Christians

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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Thoughts on Hebrews Ch 11 from 2/18


My Sunday School Life Group is studying Hebrews. Every Monday, I post questions that were discussed the day before in Sunday School. I invite you to ponder/think about them and jot down your thoughts.

On Wednesdays, I post some of the ideas that came up in the Life Group's discussion for you to consider and compare with your thoughts.  

These questions were discussed in my Life Group yesterday. These are thoughts from the class discussion.

Chapter 11
Vv 1-7

Hebrews 11 is a series of commentaries on various Biblical characters. Each is commended for the significant faith shown in their life. As we go along, we’ll read each Old Testament passage and you can fill in the chart below along with the answers to the questions. Yep. More work! The fill-in starts with verse 3.

Both Cain and Abel sacrificed. There was no Law. Why was Abel’s accepted and Cain’s rejected?
This was discussed last week while filling in the chart for Abel. Click the link to check the discussion.

What’s the significance of the word BECAUSE in v6?

  • And without faith, it is impossible to please God because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (NIV)
  • It's impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists and that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him. (MSG)
  • And 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 seek Him. (KJV)

Because is not the only term used. "For" is more common.
Faith ties into belief. 
We have to have faith/expectations. 
Expect great things from God.
God does not want a faithless generation.
The difference between fear and faith is focus.

What is “holy fear”?

How did Noah condemn the world?
He left the non-believers behind.
He believed. He warned. They didn't believe all the time he was building the ark.

Why is faith needed to please God?
Believe that HE IS and that HE REWARDS

Chapter 11
Vv 8-19
Chart time #2! Why is Abraham included? Fill in the appropriate blanks after checking the OT references.

Italicized words are from 

A descendant of Noah’s son Shem and the son of Terah. Husband of Sarah and father of Isaac. He was named Abram at birth, but God changed his name to Abraham which sounds like the Hebrew for "father of many nations" (Gen 17.4-5).

Ch 12-13 He has imperfect faith
Ch 14-17 He has growing faith
Ch 18-25:20 – matured faith
His name was changed from Abram (father of height) to Abraham (the father of a multitude)

Left the security of his homeland, when God called him to go to a new land where God would give him many descendants.

Believed God - was credited with as righteous (Romans 4)
Moved to an unknown country. Did not know where he was going.
Had faith about having a child.
A baby would be born to Sarai and him.
Willing to sacrifice Isaac if necessary to obey God.
Not all faith is all the time faith.
They lived in tents, moved a lot, completely different lifestyle than in Ur. From permanent life to non-permanent life.
Wife of Abraham and mother of Isaac. She was originally named Sarai but God changed her name to Sarah (both names mean "princess" (Gen 17.15)

Wife of Abraham
Half-sister of Abraham
Name change Sarai (unknown meaning or princess) to Sarah (princess)
Esther had beauty treatments in the same area (UR) as Sarai was from. Did those treatments help Sarah maintain life-long beauty?

Was too old to have children, but she had faith that God would give her a child anyway.

She tried to help God's plan to work by giving Hagar to Abraham.
Tossed Hagar out of her household. This ultimately resulted in a rival for the Jews to this day.
She laughed when she learned of the promised baby.
Had a baby.
Genesis 17 considers her the mother of nations.
Committed herself to Abraham.
Ultimately trusted God.

Abraham-Part 1.

What do we learn from v8?
He went on faith.
God does not tell us the outcome of faith on things.
Don't put a timeline on God's work.
You don't want all "green lights" in your faith walk.

We Got This Far This Week

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