This is this coming Sunday’s sermon, January 13 2008.
GOTTA HAVE FAITH PART 7
The Patriarch’s Faith – an enduring faith
Last time we looked at Sarah’s faith and saw that she had a faith that believed in the impossible. This morning, we are going to look at the Patriarch’s faith which was an enduring faith. For those who don’t know what the word, “Patriarchs” means, it means, “Any of the Biblical personages regarded as fathers of the human race.” In other words, those earlier followers of God.
Monday evening was the national championship for College Football, the 2007 season. It pitted LSU verses Ohio State. In the first half, Ohio State dominated. During the half-time, the commentators basically wrote LSU off, declaring that the game was over. Ohio State seemingly had an answer for whatever LSU threw their way. Well, someone forgot to tell the coaching staff, as well as the players of LSU that the game was over at the half. They came out in the second half and scored 31 unanswered points to win, and win big, the national championship. You see they had endurance. They faced the obstacles of the first half, and overcame them in the second half to gain a victory.
You see, that is what an enduring faith does. It faces the obstacles that are thrown their way, and instead of throwing in the towel and announcing defeat, keeps heading on to the things that God has promised.
We have a choice this morning. Do we believe what God has promised us? Or do we just throw our hands up in frustration and defeat.
And enduring faith keeps going, no matter what the nay-sayers say, no matter what obstacles they face, no matter what lies and barriers the enemy throws their way.
This morning, we are going to look at these Patriarchs and see how they had an enduring faith, their reward for enduring, and what we can apply to our lives.
Let’s look at the text this morning and see what God would say to us.
Hebrews 11:13-16 ISV – All these people died having faith. They did not receive the things that were promised, yet they saw them in the distant future and welcomed them, acknowledging that they were strangers and foreigners on earth. (14) For people who say such things make it clear that they are looking for a country of their own. (15) If they had been thinking about what they had left behind, they would have had an opportunity to go back. (16) Instead, they were longing for a better country, that is, a heavenly one. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, because he has prepared a city for them.
1. They had a faith that endured – that was forever seeking the unseen heavenly country.
A. The first thing I want you to notice is found in verse 13, these patriarchs all died while having faith.
These patriarchs spoken of are the ones we’ve already discuss in this sermon series, Abraham, Isaac, and Sarah, Abel, etc… They continued on and did not shrink back in their faith in the God that called them out of their homeland to come and follow Him.
B. As Christ-followers, we are also people who have been called out – callout out of darkness into His marvelous light.
No matter the obstacles it is important to have an enduring faith – a faith that continues on and doesn’t shrink back; that continually follows the One who called us.
C. Notice in verse 13 it goes on to say that they did not receive the things that were promised.
At first glance, that kind of looks depressing. Let me read a couple of commentaries concerning this phrase and what some Scholars say:
John Gill states, “These things promised are: the land of Canaan, the Promise Messiah, the blessings of the Gospel dispensation; they had the promises of these things, and though they were not fulfilled in their days, they believed they would be fulfilled, and died in the faith of them.
The People’s New Testament Commentary: “They died without the fulfillment of the promises, either those of a temporal possession or of an innumerable seed.”
Vincent Word Studies says: “They did not receive, they died under the regiment of faith, not of sight.”
Robert’s Word Pictures says: “The received the promise of the Messiah, but did not live to see the reality of His coming.”
Barnes commentary says: “They received the promise, but not the fulfillment.”
The promise was an innumerable seed and land, the earthly promise, they didn’t live to see the fulfillment of this, but they believed it would happen, and they died in this faith. They did receive the heavenly promise, which is a heavenly home built by God. But again the receiving wasn’t until they actually died in faith.
Which leads us to our next point:
D. The patriarch’s had a visionary faith.
Hebrews 11:13c – They saw them in the distant future and welcomed them.
They welcomed God’s promise and kept their vision focused on that promise.
E. They also by their faith recognized that they were foreigners to this earth.
Hebrews 11:13d-14 – acknowledging that they were strangers and foreigners on earth. (14) For people who say such things make it clear that they are looking for a country of their own.
This belief in being foreigners to this earth was not some passive belief, but as active declaration of their present condition. They were strongly influenced by this belief.
F. The Patriarchs in faith didn’t look back.
Hebrews 11:15 ISV – If they had been thinking about what they had left behind, they would have had an opportunity to go back.
They always looked ahead toward the promise, not behind from where God took them from.
2. Their reward.
Hebrews 11:16 ISV – Instead, they were longing for a better country, that is, a heavenly one. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, because he has prepared a city for them.
A. Again, their reward they receive was God’s approval, which we have seen throughout Hebrews 11 so far.
Notice this verse says that God is not ashamed to be called their God. They commended themselves to God through their faith, and because of this, God was not ashamed to call them His own possession. What a marvelous thing for God to say about them. In fact, He says the same about all those who put their absolute faith and trust in Him.
1 Peter 2:9-10 ISV – But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people to be his very own and to proclaim the wonderful deeds of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (10) Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God. Once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
B. The second reward they received was a heavenly city.
Because God wasn’t ashamed, He built them a city. And this city isn’t just for them, but it is for all who put their absolute faith in trust in Jesus Christ as their Lord, Savior, and Deliverer.
How do we apply these truths to our lives this morning?
• We must keep our eyes focused on God’s callings, purposes, and promises for us.
• Write the promises down, keep them ever before you.
• Don’t ever, ever look back. Looking back only brings doubt and discouragement.
Are you always fearful that you’ve made some wrong decisions? Do you ever wish that you could go back and either relive or even correct the past. Well, let me tell you in two words: Stop it! Look ahead toward Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith. Hold on to God’s promises. Don’t give in to fear and doubt.
Maybe you are here this morning, and you feel like you want to throw in the towel. If that is you, please come forward and let’s pray together, asking the Lord for the strength to endure. Then get up and hold your
head up high, knowing that no weapon that is formed against you shall prosper.
Next time we will look at Abraham’s faith – a sacrificial faith.