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Victory By Faith


"32 And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, 33 who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35 Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their  release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection; 36 and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated 38 (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground.

39 And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40 because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect." 
Good Morning my beloved,
Welcome to worship this Lord's Day!
We're so glad that our brothers and sisters from around the world are here with us today.
We continue to pray for all of you, daily.

We live in a success oriented society. Winning is everything. Unfortunately, even the church has acquired the worldly success syndrome. Many church leaders, rather than preaching God's Word, say things like you just need to "think positively," or "you just need to claim the wealth that God has promised you," and if your faith is strong enough "something good is going to happen to you." Unless you are healthy and wealthy, then you are not living up to your potential.

However, all of these ignore the principal that there is a difference between spiritual success and material success. There is a difference between being deemed a success by the world and deemed a success by God. These are two very different concepts.

Now, as you know, if you’ve been with us, we have been studying the book of Hebrews chapter 11, the Faith Chapter, or as some call it, The Heroes Hall of Fame. I believe that the Holy Spirit is making a concentrated effort to convince the Jewish readers and anyone else who will read this wonderful epistle to the Hebrews, of the necessity of faith as the only way to God. There are only two ways in which one can come to God, the first, is by faith alone in Christ alone, the other, is in judgement, if you do not take advantage of the first. The Bible rejects any other way of salvation and leaves us only with salvation by faith. I cannot make it any more clear to you than that. 

Faith is believing what God has said simply because He has said it. And in particular, believing what He says about a relationship to Him, that it is available to those who repent of their sin and put their trust in Christ's grace and His mercy. Even in the Old Testament, people, to be saved, had to acknowledge their sin and come to God, plead for the mercy and the grace which He promised to offer the penitent sinner.

Even before the cross, they were believing God that He would grant forgiveness, mercy and grace to the sinner who repented and believed in Him, though they did not yet know the reality of the cross. Today, our faith embraces the finished work of Christ in His death and resurrection.

Jesus said in Matthew chapter 16 verse 24, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me."

When the gospel came along, the Jews heard it as if it was a foreign message.  Judaism had become a works based system, believing that you could work your way to God. Not apart from faith, rather faith accompanied by your own efforts. The concept that salvation is by faith alone, and that reconciliation with God, forgiveness of sin, and entrance into the kingdom of God and the hope of eternal heaven is a matter of faith, seemed to them to be nothing more than a corrupted message. Because they were convinced that your works and keeping of the Law was the way into God’s kingdom. So, when the gospel was preached, they were offended by it. Even today, there are still a number of Jews who are having trouble getting the point that salvation is by faith alone.

Let us pray.

Heavenly Father,

Father, we again, thank You for Your Word, thank You for the clarity and discernment, in order that we would understand the truth. Lord, we thank You for those who are gathered with us today, we pray that You would speak to each and every heart, binding these truths revealed to us through Your Word. Thank You for the biblical view of Christ, in His death and resurrection, that we might endure in true saving faith. May each soul present with us persevere in trials and tests that come against our faith. May we cherish and rejoice in the trials that demonstrate that our faith is real, and our salvation is genuine. Thank You Lord, for Your willing sacrifice, to take our place on the cross, for those who have placed their faith and trust in You. Strengthen our faith through Your Holy Spirit.

Father, we pray that You would touch the hearts of those who have yet to accept Christ as their Lord and Savior, that today would be that day.
In Jesus' name we ask and pray

Today's Message: Victory By Faith

Throughout the book of Hebrews, the writer of Hebrews has been attempting to show the Jewish reader, that faith is not a new message, in fact, it's a very old message. He starts with the family of Adam in verse 4 and talks about the faith of Abel, and then in verse 5, the faith of Enoch, in verse 7, he talks about the faith of Noah. He gives a rather extensive examination of Abraham’s life and faith. He goes on to talk about Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. All in the book of Genesis.
Then, He moves on to the book of Exodus, and refers to the faith of Moses. Moses' story goes through Exodus, Moses then also becomes the author of the Pentateuch, the opening five books of the Old Testament. Then, if you will recall, beginning in verse 30, He moves to the next group of people, moving us into the book of Joshua and Judges. There, He talks about that by faith the walls of Jericho fell; and by faith Rahab hid the spies, and through their message, believed in the One true God, which is where we left off. That brings us to where we are are today, in verse 32 and following.
Open with me your Bibles to the book of Hebrews chapter 11 verses 32-40. In our ongoing journey, through this wonderful, monumental book, we have come to the end of this great faith chapter. I believe that it is monumental because it gives us a basic summary of the Old Testament. Perhaps, you will notice that there’s a level of intensity that is added because their faith is now tested in the crucible of a life and death situation.
I invite you to follow along with me as I read to kind of set the text in our minds, as we prepare our hearts for a Word from the Holy Spirit. Hebrews 11:32-40
"And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection; and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground. And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect." 
Before this letter was written, the gospel of Christ came to this group of people, obviously a group of Hebrews. Back in chapter 2, we read "how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will."
So, the apostles of Christ have come to this community of Jews and preached to them the gospel of Christ. And the preaching has been attended by signs and wonders and miracles and manifest gifts of the Holy Spirit. Some of them had believed, some believed and opened their hearts and received the message of the apostles and received Christ as Lord and Savior. We  could assume that their experience with the apostles was after the resurrection. So, they heard the message of the new covenant gospel, genuinely embraced it and formed a church.
Then, there were others who were intellectually convinced, they even understood the gospel to some degree, they were drawn to it, who associated with the church. Now, this would be consistent with what our Lord said, that the wheat and the tares would grow together, remember that? In other words, you would have believers and nonbelievers in the same environment which would be very difficult to separate. There are people who are interested but not converted. 

So, basically, you have these people, who were associated with the true believers, who had not truly left their works system behind. So they had not come all the way to faith in Christ. They formed a church and apparently came under persecution, which, as you can imagine, raised the stakes on being a Christian. We know that true believers have a faith that endures, right? Well, when the, we'll call them superficial believers, came under persecution, they were in danger of leaving. They were in danger of returning to Judaism. 

I'm sure that you will remember that they’re warned again, in chapter 3, verses 7-11, "Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says,"Today if you hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as when they provoked Me, as in the day of trial in the wilderness, Where your fathers tried Me by testing Me, And saw My works for forty years. "Therefore I was angry with this generation, And said, ‘They always go astray in their heart, And they did not know My ways’; As I swore in My wrath,They shall not enter My rest."
And in verse 12, "Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God." And, there were more warnings in chapters 4, and 6:4-5, which says "For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come."
I'd like you to notice that none of these terms are ever used anywhere in the Bible to describe salvation.
Who has been enlightened? Who has tasted the heavenly gift? Who’s been made a partaker of the Holy Spirit? Who’s tasted the good Word of God and the powers of the age to come?
These words are used to describe the experience of those who heard the apostles and saw their miracles and signs and wonders. They were, in a sense, enlightened. They tasted the heavenly gift; they tasted the powers of heaven. They were made partakers of the power of the Holy Spirit coming through the apostles and the signs and wonders and gifts of the Spirit. They tasted the good Word of God, and they tasted the powers of the age to come. That is all those miracle powers which one day, in the age to come, the millennial kingdom, will be in full display.  
Now, here's the warning " and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned." In other words,f you’ve heard the message of Christ, you have understood it, and you turn your back, you can’t be renewed to repentance. There is no more revelation that you can receive. 
Then, another warning, in chapter 10 and verse 26-27, "For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries." In other words, if you go on in your sinful unbelief willingly "then there is no longer any sacrifice for sins."  Your punishment will be far greater, it will be much worse because you had full knowledge and rejected it. Verse 31, tells us " It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God."
And, in chapter 12, " See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven. And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven." The bottomline is, if you don’t listen to the word of the Spirit of God and the word of the Son of God through the apostles, all that awaits for you is judgment.
In chapter 11, let's go back for a minute, chapter 11, the message to the truly saved, who were in danger of trying to lessen their persecution by drawing back into old Judaistic patterns, "don’t go back and pick up those ways of Judaism." And to the non believers, chapter 6 says, "Let us go on to perfection." In other words, "Come all the way to Christ." The writer of Hebrews used the term perfection to refer to salvation. This is to encourage the non-Christians who are a part of that community, not to turn their backs on the gospel.
Now, back to verse 32 in our text, both the story of Jericho, and the story of Rahab, demonstrate that faith conquers, that faith is courage. Faith that endures a test, even persecution. True faith endures. "And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets." So the first name we come to is Gideon, you can read that story in the book of Judges chapter seven. Gideon is a judge. Now, the term "judge" doesn’t mean that they were the ruling president of the nation; it simply means they were elevated to a place where their leadership and their wisdom put them in a ruling position somewhere in the life and the land of Israel. This judge had to face the Midianites, and the Midianite army had 135,000 men.
Gideon starts out with 32,000, so the odds aren't real good, but its not impossible, 32,000 against 135,000. Let's look at that quickly, we don't have the time to get into a lot of detail with all of these guys. " Judges 7:2-8, "The Lord said to Gideon, “The people who are with you are too many for Me to give Midian into their hands, for Israel would become boastful, saying, ‘My own power has delivered me.’ Now therefore come, proclaim in the hearing of the people, saying, ‘Whoever is afraid and trembling, let him return and depart from Mount Gilead.’” So 22,000 people returned, but 10,000 remained.

Then the Lord said to Gideon, “The people are still too many; bring them down to the water and I will test them for you there. Therefore it shall be that he of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall go with you,’ he shall go with you; but everyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go.” So he brought the people down to the water. And the Lord said to Gideon, “You shall separate everyone who laps the water with his tongue as a dog laps, as well as everyone who kneels to drink.”  Now the number of those who lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, was 300 men; but all the rest of the people kneeled to drink water. The Lord said to Gideon, “I will deliver you with the 300 men who lapped and will give the Midianites into your hands; so let all the other people go, each man to his  home.” So the 300 men took the people’s provisions and their trumpets into their hands. And Gideon sent all the other men of Israel, each to his tent, but retained the 300 men; and the camp of Midian was below him in the valley."

Now, let's be honest, any one of us today would be thinking "Um Lord, are you kidding me? I can't move with only 300 men."  But not Gideon, he didn’t argue because his faith was so strong. He understood the odds from a human perspective, but did just as God said. They split into three groups. Gideon took his hundred, and a couple of other hundreds. They got on the circles of the hills around where the Midianites were. They lit their torches, and at the appropriate time of the announcement, they smashed the pitchers, which made noise, and revealed the torches, and the trumpets began to blow, and the Midianites went into panic, probably assuming that for every torch there was an entire division of troops when it as just one guy with a pitcher and a torch and a trumpet. And, you know the story,  the Midianites panicked. They rolled out of their beds, or off their pads on the ground most likely and massacred each other, it was an absolute slaughter. They thought they were fighting the hordes of Jewish troops who had descended upon them. True faith demonstrates courage.

The next name we come to is Barak, let's look at Judges chapter 4, it’s one of the most interesting stories in the Bible. Barak had 10,000 men, and he was going against the mighty force of Sisera. God sent a message to Barak through a woman by the name of Deborah. Barak believed the message, and believed that God would give him the victory. Sisera was a Canaanite commander of some confederated chariot troops. God uses Debora has His mouthpiece.

Verse 7, "I will draw out to you Sisera, the commander of Jabin's army, with his chariots and his many troops to the river Kishon, and I will give him into your hand." Then Barak said to her, “If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go.” She said, “I will surely go with you; nevertheless, the honor shall not be yours on the journey that you are about to take, for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hands of a woman."

Now let go down to verses 15-16, "The Lord routed Sisera and all his chariots and all his army with the edge of the sword before Barak; and Sisera alighted from his chariot and fled away on foot. But Barak pursued the chariots and the army as far as Harosheth-hagoyim, and all the army of Sisera fell by the edge of the sword; not even one was left." That is a massacre!

Listen to this, "Now Sisera fled away on foot to the tent of Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite, for there was peace between Jabin the king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite. Jael went out to meet Sisera, and said to him, “Turn aside, my master, turn aside to me! Do not be afraid.” And he turned aside to her into the tent, and she covered him with a rug. He said to her, “Please give me a little water to drink, for I am thirsty.” So she opened a bottle of milk and gave him a drink; then she covered him.  He said to her, “Stand in the doorway of the tent, and it shall be if anyone comes and inquires of you, and says, ‘Is there anyone here?’ that you shall say, ‘No.’” But Jael, Heber's wife, took a tent peg and  seized a hammer in her hand, and went secretly to him and drove the peg into his temple, and it went through into the ground; for he was sound asleep and exhausted. So he died." These men courageously stepped into an unbelievable battle, trusting God and an incredible victory came. That's courageous faith!

Now, we come to Samson, I'm sure everyone knows the story of Samson. He was Israel’s champion against the Philistines.In spite of his stupidity, and his bad relationship with Delilah and his tragedy with Delilah, in spite of his loss of strength, this man had strong faith in God.And after he recovered from all of that, Samson demonstrated great courage, strength and power. He had risen to a place of leadership, was called by God to conquer the Philistines. His strength came from the Lord, so never feared to enter into battle. He trusted God.

Let's move ahead to Judges 15, "Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took torches, and turned the foxes tail to tail and put one torch in the middle between two tails. When he had set fire to the torches, he released the foxes into the standing grain of the Philistines, thus burning up both the shocks and the standing grain, along with the vineyards and groves." This of course was in anger at the father of his Philistine wife, for giving her away to somebody else and he knows that would irritate the Philistines.

Verses 6-8, "Then the Philistines said, “Who did this?” And they said, “Samson, the son-in-law of the Timnite, because he took his wife and gave her to his companion.” So the Philistines came up and burned her and her father with fire. Samson said to them, “Since you act like this, I will surely take revenge on you, but after that I will quit.” He struck them ruthlessly with a great slaughter; and he went down and lived in the cleft of the rock of Etam." He’s only one man, with strong faith in his calling and he knows that God has given him his power. He believed the promise of God, that God had called him to fight for Israel against the Philistines, even against unimaginable odds. That's courageous faith!

Now we come to Jephthah, we find his story in Judges chapter 11. "Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a valiant warrior, but he was the son of a harlot. And Gilead was the father of Jephthah. Gilead’s wife bore him sons; and when his wife’s sons grew up, they drove Jephthah out and said to him, “You shall not have an inheritance in our father’s house, for you are the son of another woman.” So Jephthah fled from his brothers and lived in the land of Tob; and worthless fellows gathered themselves about Jephthah, and they went out with him."

Then in verses 32-33, " So Jephthah crossed over to the sons of Ammon to fight against them; and the Lord gave them into his hand. He struck them with a very great slaughter from Aroer to the entrance of Minnith, twenty cities, and as far as Abel-keramim. So the sons of Ammon were subdued before the sons of Israel." The Ammorites were conquered again by the courage of Jephthah.

The next name in our list is David, whose story is in the book of 1 and 2 Samuel. Most of us know that in chapter 17 of 1 Samuel, David escaped the sword of Goliath. David was a little shepherd boy who went out against the giant Philistine Goliath. David, was a man who could and did make tragic mistakes, was first and foremost a man of faith. David is called “a man after God’s own heart” because of his faith and his desire to do the will of God.

The, down in verse 43, "The Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. The Philistine also said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the sky and the beasts of the field.” Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted. This day the Lord will deliver you up into my hands, and I will strike you down and remove your head from you. And I will give the dead bodies of the army of the Philistines this day to the birds of the sky and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the Lord does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the Lord’s and He will give you into our hands."

You have to admit, that's a lot of courage for a little shepherd boy. And, of course we know how the story ends. "Then it happened when the Philistine rose and came and drew near to meet David, that David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. And David put his hand into his bag and took from it a stone and slung it, and struck the Philistine on his forehead. And the stone sank into his forehead, so that he fell on his face to the ground.

 Thus David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and he struck the Philistine and killed him; but there was no sword in David’s hand. Then David ran and stood over the Philistine and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him, and cut off his head with it. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled. The men of Israel and Judah arose and shouted and pursued the Philistines as far as the valley, and to the gates of Ekron. And the slain Philistines lay along the way to Shaaraim, even to Gath and Ekron. The sons of Israel returned from chasing the Philistines and plundered their camps. Then David took the Philistine’s head and brought it to Jerusalem, but he put his weapons in his tent." That is some courageous faith in the calling of God. In 2 Samuel 8:15, “David reigned over all Israel; and David administered justice and righteousness for all his people.”

The next name is Samuel, he appears here in the first 25 chapters of 1 Samuel. What can we say about Samuel, he was a great man of faith. He faced a rebellious, idolatrous people with courage and conviction. Samuel spoke God's Word, he always said what was right even against all threats. Samuel warned people, and he was fearless, he even warned the great High Priest Eli. He was courageous and thought nothing of personal safety. Samuel was first of the prophets and the last of the judges. He started as a young boy and continued always through his life serving God.

The end of Hebrews 11 verse 32, he just mentions the prophets. That takes us to the end of the Old Testament, to the wisdom literature, which was predominantly authored by the kings, the book of Psalms, Proverbs, Song of Solomon. The prophets who remain unnamed all served God cheerfully, courageously and confidently, accepted God commands and faced opposition with faith in God. This would include Elijah, Elisha and Jeremiah. The Old Testament contains many examples of God’s people could boast of spectacular achievements such as military victories, miraculous deliverance's and the raising of the dead to life, all by faith.

In verses 33-34, "who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight." This would describe Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, and David. And they not only conquered kingdoms, they upheld justice in very challenging times. Their accomplishments sound like the stuff of childhood fantasies are made of. slaying dragons, vanquishing evil, beating the odds, rescuing the damsel in distress, laughing in the face of death, escaping just in nick of time all while making it all look incredibly easy.

It says they obtained promises and there are a number of illustrations of that. Joshua was given a promise of victory. Gideon was given a promise of victory. Barak was given a promise of victory. David was given promises by God that were fulfilled and some that were to be fulfilled later. Then, it says that they "shut the mouths of lions." This is of course referring to Daniel chapter 6. As I'm sure you will recall, Daniel obeyed God, even when it meant he had to go to the lion’s den, believing God would take care of that, and God shut the mouths of the lions.

He goes on to say "quenched the power of fire," refers to Daniel chapter 3. Daniel’s three friends: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, as we know them by their Babylonian names, who said "If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king." In verses 19-20, "Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with wrath, and his facial expression was altered toward Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. He answered by giving orders to heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated. He commanded certain valiant warriors who were in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego in order to cast them into the furnace of blazing fire." And  they were standing in the fire were not burned. In fact, there was a companion with them in the fire, very likely an appearance of the Son of God. They conquered by courageous faith.

Next He says "escaped the edge of the sword," this cab be said of all these courageous men of faith. Saul tried to get David’s head within the reach of his sword, yet, he never could. And , of course, there was Goliath. Then, there was Elisha, Joram wanted to kill him with his sword. You can read more about his story in II Kings chapter 6.  Then it says "from weakness were made strong." In II Kings chapter 20, Hezekiah prayed for long life and because he was a good king, God granted him more life. He had no son, yet he believed in God’s promise and power. Elisha went on to live another 15 years and eventually bore a son.

Then, in verse 35, "Women received back their dead by resurrection," all through the faith of these men. There was Elijah healing the dead son of the widow of Zarephath, in I Kings 17. And then in II Kings 4, it’s Elisha raising the child of the Shunnamite woman from the dead. The faith of these prophets in death brought great victory.

The Hebrews, to whom the letter was written, might have been going through suffering, however, it pales in comparison to what these men experienced.  He goes on to say in verse 35, "and others were tortured, not accepting their  release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection." Here, He's not talking about a release from torture, but of an endurance. We have been looking at the achievements of these men of faith in the midst of terrible conflict, horrendous threat. Now, we see the endurance of faith in the midst of trials. The Greek word for torture, is "tumpanizō,"  

It was an instrument of torture in ancient times, it was a wheel-shaped contraption over which criminals were stretched, they would have all their extremities stretched to the circumference of the wheel, and they would rotate on the wheel while people pummeled them with clubs. He is talking about those people of faith who have been tortured, because the would not deny their faith, they would not banish from their lips the name of the true and living God because they looked for a better resurrection. 

In verse 36, He says " and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. Jeremiah was tortured, chained, imprisoned, thrown into a pit, and we can know from the holy Scriptures, there surely were many of others. 

Verse 37, "They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated." Jeremiah and Zechariah were stoned. The prophet Isaiah life ended when he was sawn in half. They were tested even to the point of being tortured, pressured to deny God, which they would not do. Some of them became exiled, "they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated." 

And in verse 38, "(men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground." They were wanderers, vagabonds, just existing because they had been put out of society, who paid the price for their faithfulness to God. I love the first part of verse 38, these were "men of whom the world was not worthy." What a tremendous statement of commendation. The world itself somehow felt diminished by their presence,yet, the reality is the world was not worthy of them. 

Then, verse 39, "And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised," In other words, they did it all because of what they believed in God and what was in the future waiting for them: a better resurrection. They didn't even know Christ, they knew only of the Old Testament prophesies of Him. Christ had not yet come, He hadn't yet died, there was not yet the resurrection, and still they believe God’s promises that it would happen. And it did. 

Verse 40, "because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect." I'm sure you will remember that perfect in the Bible means saved. They didn’t receive what was promised, because God had provided something better. The cross and the resurrection, the new covenant. So they lived by faith, endured in suffering, counting on a salvation that would be provided in a way they could not yet see. All because of their courageous faith.

And that brings us back to how this chapter first began doesn't it, "Now faith is the assurance of things  hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."

In Closing..

These men and women of faith were not delivered from difficult situations and tragic circumstances, yet God honors their faith. In fact, I believe that it takes more faith to endure life challenges than it does to  escape them.

I believe that we need to put the Bible back in the pulpits of the churches, and into hands of the people. Looking at the church of the last 100 years, I have to wonder if we have been more influenced by the Enlightenment and Philosophy of the world, rather than the Word of God.

I cannot help but to contemplate the contrast these verses draw, against the health and wealth philosophy of the prosperity gospel, that is being taught by some today. A philosophy says that God wants all of us to be healthy and wealthy. Yet, this chapter emphasises the stunning victories accomplished by these men of faith, some "escaped the edge of the sword" By faith one lived and by faith another died. 

Faith does not always deliver the believer out of suffering, more often, it delivered them through suffering. Believing that God himself is better than what this life can offer you now.

That is what is it means to truly have courageous faith. 

May it be so..

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name

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The Brian Monzon Ministries



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You Can't Quarantine The Word of God

" 35  Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, He got up, went out, and made His way to a deserted place. And He was praying there. 36  Simon and his companions went searching for Him. 37  They found Him and said, “Everyone’s looking for You!” 38  And He said to them, “Let’s go on to the neighboring villages so that I may preach there too. This is why I have come.” 39  So He went into all of Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons. 40  Then a man with a serious skin disease came to Him and, on his knees, begged Him: “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” 41  Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out His hand and touched him. “I am willing,” He told him. “Be made clean.” 42  Immediately the disease left him, and he was healed. 43  Then He sternly warned him and sent him away at once, 44  telling him, “See that you say nothing to anyone; but go and show yourself to the priest, and offer what Moses prescribed for your cleansin

The Things Which Must Soon Take Place

    " The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John, 2  who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. 3  Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near." Revelation 1:1-3 Good Morning my beloved,   We welcome you to worship in the name of the Lord. Thank you for joining us today, we're glad to have you here. We are especially grateful for those of you who have been sharing the ministry website with all of your family and friends. Your faithfulness to share God's Word with others continues to bring about tremendous results. We are grateful to each of you. And through your sharing, God has brought a number of people to Christ. Praise God! May He continue to use you and this minist

Nothing Has Changed If You Haven’t Changed

Good Morning beloved family, I'm so glad to have all of you joining us today! Let's give a shout of praise to the Lord! Amen! Heavenly Father, As we gather here today, enlighten our understanding, purify our hearts every desire, quicken our wills, and strengthen every right purpose. Grant us wisdom and discernment, that we may better know Your Word and understand. Direct us, in clarity, during this time of worship, guide us to the magnifying and exalting of Your name, and to the e nduring good of us Your children and servants, through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Amen " To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:   A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted; A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up; A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones; A ti

Ministry With A Mission

    " Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Savior, and of Christ Jesus, who is our hope, 2  To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord." I Timothy 1:1-2     Good Morning my beloved,   We welcome to all of our beloved brothers and sisters, from all around the world, who have been lead to join us today. We are glad to have you here!   I know that I mentioned this to you in our last message, however, Scripture calls us to pray with and for our brothers and sister in Christ. I again, would like to encourage all of you to visit our Prayer Wall, there are a number of them who are in great need of some faithful prayer warriors. I pray that you will join us in praying for them in their time of need. I would greatly appreciate it, and I know that they would as well!   I Timothy 2:1 tells us " First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and than

The Power Of A Humble Prayer

      " Finally, brethren, pray for us that the word of the Lord will spread rapidly and be glorified, just as it did also with you; 2  and that we will be rescued from perverse and evil men; for not all have faith. 3  But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one . 4  We have confidence in the Lord concerning you, that you are doing and will continue to do what we command. 5  May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ." II Thessalonians 3:1-5     Good Morning my beloved,   Welcome to all of our beloved brothers and sisters, from all around the world, who have been prompted to join us today. We are glad to have you here!   I believe that peace, encouragement and good hope are present realities for any true believer. It stands in stark contrast to what the world offers. In the face of life's challenges, discouragements persecution, and shattered dreams, God brings encouragement to th