Please Pray for Me

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, please pray for me. I have been asked to preach the memorial service (via teleconference) in Kenya for the orphan who recently died while trying to secure food for himself and his fellow orphans (please read “Desperate Situation: One Dead and One Severely Injured” for more details). My faith is being tested as I need to inspire hope in these people who have no food and seemingly no hope of acquiring any without the sacrificial, generous donations of others.

While I know it is not personally my fault, I still cannot but feel responsible. Olorei Independent Fellowships, Nyarenda Children’s Home Centre, and specifically, these orphans, had placed their hope in me and Saved by Grace Ministries to raise the money they need for food and other essential items. An orphan is dead and one is in serious condition because they were so hungry they and their friends tried to steal some food. And now I must preach to them about hope and keeping their faith while I am losing mine.

Please pray for me. Please pray that the Lord will restore my faith m Him and in others. Please pray that He will give me the words I need to say, which will inspire the orphans to keep their faith and continue to have hope despite their current conditions. Please pray that others will come forward and give to these orphans just a small percentage of what the Lord has blessed them with.

May God bless you this holiday season as we celebrate His precious gift to us: the birth of His Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Bro. Chris

PS) For those of you who are able, please pray during the memorial service. The service will be Friday, December 26, 2014 at 2:00pm (Kenya time), which is 5:00am (CST).




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Hebrews – Part 8: What Is Faith?

Christians should not apostatize because faith has the power to keep Christians steadfast and sure, despite trials.

Prologue

“What Is Faith?” is part 8 of a 10-part study on the Book of Hebrews. You may view any of the previous parts by clicking one of the links below.

Introduction

NOTE: The following information consists of excerpts paraphrased from Albert Barnes, Notes on the New Testament Explanatory and Practical, WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “Hebrews 11”.

In the close of the previous chapter the writer of Hebrews had incidentally made mention of faith:

Hebrews 10:38-39 (NASB)
38 BUT MY RIGHTEOUS ONE SHALL LIVE BY FAITH; AND IF HE SHRINKS BACK, MY SOUL HAS NO PLEASURE IN HIM. 39 But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.

The object of the whole argument in this epistle was to keep those to whom it was addressed from apostatizing, from the Christian religion, and especially from relapsing again into Judaism.

They were in the midst of trials, and were evidently suffering some form of persecution, the tendency of which was to expose them to the danger of relapsing.

The indispensable means of securing them from apostasy was faith; and with a view to show its efficacy in this respect, the writer goes into an extended account of its nature and effects, occupying this entire chapter.

As the persons whom he addressed had been Hebrews, and as the Old Testament contained an account of numerous instances of persons in substantially the same circumstances in which they were, the reference is made, to the illustrious examples of the efficacy of faith in the Jewish history.

The object is to show that faith, or confidence in the Divine promises, has been in all ages the means of perseverance in the true religion, and consequently of salvation.

In this chapter, therefore, the writer of Hebrews first describes or defines the nature of faith,

Hebrews 11:1 (NASB)
1  Now faith is the assurance of thingshoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

and then illustrates its efficacy and power, throughout the remainder of the chapter, by reference to numerous instances.

In these illustrations he refers to the steady belief which we have that God made the worlds, the examples of Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and Rahab in particular, and numerous other examples without mentioning their names.

The object is to show that there is power in faith to keep – steady and firm – mind and heart in the midst of trials, and that, having these examples before them, those whom he addressed should continue to adhere steadfastly to the profession of the true religion.

Scripture

Hebrews 11:1,3,6 (NASB)
1  Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. …
3  By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible. …
6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and thatHe is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

Opening Prayer

Heavenly Father, Scripture tells us that we are saved by grace through faith. Please open up Your Word to us and teach us what faith is. May our faith be strengthened as a result. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Probing Question

How does faith have the power to keep Christians from apostatizing, despite their trials?

Transitional Sentence

Faith has the power to keep Christians from apostatizing, despite their trials, because…

Main Points

1. Faith lays claim to the unseen realities of God and His purpose.

Abel

Hebrews 11:4 (NASB)
4 By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks.

  • Abel’s name
    • Means, “breath, vapor, meadow”
    • Is associated with the shortness of life
  • The second son of Adam and Eve may have been a twin because Genesis 4:2 literally reads, “And she continued to bear his brother Abel”
  • Some have thought that it was the better sacrifice because it was the sacrifice of an animal, however, the emphasis on “faith” in Hebrews and the idea of a “proper offering” in the Septuagint translation of Genesis 4:7 suggest that Abel’s offering was made with a correct attitude and in the proper manner
  • Because of jealousy, Cain killed Abel
  • Hebrews 12:24 compares Abel’s blood with Christ’s blood
    • Abel’s blood calls for vengeance
    • Christ’s blood carries with it the idea of forgiveness
  • Nevertheless, Abel is outstanding because he was
    • The first person to worship God correctly
    • The first person to demonstrate faith accurately
    • The first person to please God fully
    • The first shepherd and influenced the early Hebrews to place a priority on the pastoral life
    • The first man to be murdered
    • The first human to die

Enoch

Hebrews 11:5-6 (NASB)
5  By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; AND HE WAS NOT FOUND BECAUSE GOD TOOK HIM UP; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God. 6 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.

  • Enoch’s name
    • Means, “dedicated.”
    • Is associated with a large body of ancient extra-biblical literature
  • The son of Jared, taken up to God without dying
  • He became the father of Methuselah
  • Enoch lived in such close fellowship with God that he was translated into the presence of God without dying
  • According to Jude, he prophesied

Jude 1:14-15 (NASB)
14 It was also about these men that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, 15 to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”

Noah

Hebrews 11:7 (NASB)
7 By faith Noah, being warned by Godabout things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.

  • Noah’s name is a personal name of uncertain meaning, related to “rest”
  • Noah was
    • The son of Lamech, a descendant of Adam in the line of Seth
    • The father of Shem, Ham, and Japheth who were born when he was 500 years old
    • A good and righteous man, and a survivor of the flood
  • God warned Noah that He was going to wipe mankind from the face of the earth
  • Because Noah walked with God and stood blameless among the people of that time, God gave him specific instructions for building the ark by which Noah and his family would survive the coming flood
    • Noah followed the building instructions down to every detail
    • A week before the flood, Noah led his family and all of the animals into the ark just as God directed
    • After seven days, the rain began and lasted for 40 days
    • As he sought to know whether it was safe to leave the ark
      • He sent out first a raven and then a dove
      • When the dove returned with an olive leaf, Noah knew the water had receded
    • Once out of the ark, Noah built an altar and sacrificed clean animals as burnt offerings on the altar
    • The Lord promised never again to destroy living creatures as He had done in the flood and established a covenant with Noah and his sons and sealed that covenant with a rainbow
  • Noah lived another 350 years after the flood
  • Noah died at the age of 950 years

2. Faith presses on even when some of God’s promises remain unfulfilled

Abraham and Sarah

Hebrews 11:8-19 (NASB)
8  By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; 10 for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore there was born even of one man, and him as good as dead at that, as many descendants AS THE STARS OF HEAVEN IN NUMBER, AND INNUMERABLE AS THE SAND WHICH IS BY THE SEASHORE. 13 All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. 15  And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16  But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them. 17  By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son; 18 it was he to whom it was said, “IN ISAAC YOUR DESCENDANTS SHALL BE CALLED.” 19 He considered that God is able to raise peopleeven from the dead, from which he also received him back as a type.

Isaac

Hebrews 11:20 (NASB)
20  By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even regarding things to come.

Jacob

Hebrews 11:21 (NASB)
21 By faith Jacob, as he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff.

Joseph

Hebrews 11:22 (NASB)
22 By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the exodus of the sons of Israel, and gave orders concerning his bones.

3. Faith risks everything for God and His purpose

Moses’ Parents

Hebrews 11:23 (NASB)
23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.

Moses

Hebrews 11:24-28 (NASB)
24  By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, 26 considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood, so that he who destroyed the firstborn would not touch them.

Children of Israel, escaping from Egypt

Hebrews 11:29 (NASB)
29 By faith they passed through the Red Sea as though they were passingthrough dry land; and the Egyptians, when they attempted it, were drowned.

Joshua and his army

Hebrews 11:30 (NASB)
30  By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days.

Rahab, the harlot

Hebrews 11:31 (NASB)
31 By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in peace.

4. Faith endures even when earthly deliverance does not come

Hebrews 11:32-40 (NASB)
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.

Conclusion

How does faith have the power to keep Christians from apostatizing, despite their trials?

  • Faith lays claim to the unseen realities of God and His purpose
  • Faith presses on even when some of God’s promises remain unfulfilled
  • Faith risks everything for God and His purpose
  • Faith endures even when earthly deliverance does not come

Closing Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for the priviledge of studying Your Word so we can learn more about You and what You expect from us. You tell us we are to have the faith of a child. Help us with our faith we pray. In the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, amen.

Epilogue

“What Is Faith?” is part 8 of a 10-part study on the Book of Hebrews. You may view any of the following parts by clicking one of the links below.

Gospel Invitation

Is the Holy Spirit stirring within your heart? Is He convicting you of the need to make changes in your life and/or calling you to take action? The Bible says:

James 4:17 (NASB)
17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

1 John 5:3 (NASB)
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

If the Holy Spirit is urging you to take action, it is important to respond with immediate obedience. Delayed obedience is disobedience. Please read the following sections that apply to your current situation and prayerfully consider the suggested course of actions.

I am lost. I need to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

John 3:16-18 (NASB)
16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Action

  • To learn more about Jesus and His gift of redemption, read God's Plan of Salvation. If you are already familiar with the Plan of Savation, skip forward to section How to Become a Christian.
  • If you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please let us know by participating in our poll located on the top left column of the page and filling out the Contact Form below.

I am saved; but, I have sin in my life that I need to confess and repent.

1 John 1:8-9 (NASB)
8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Acts 3:19 (NASB)
19  "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially confess the sin in your life and your desire to repent. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

I am saved; but, I need to rededicate my life to the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Action

  • In your own words, pray a prayer similar to the following:

Heavenly Father, I have fallen short of Your glory and have failed to live up to Your expecttions for me. Please forgive me. Lord, I rededicate my life to You. Not my will; but, Your will be done. Thank You for being a God of second chances. Use me Lord. Shape me and mold me into the person You would have me to be. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.

  • If you just rededicated your life to the Lord, please let us know by participating in our poll located on the top left column of the page and filling out the Contact Form below.

I benefit from this ministry and want to become a member and/or make a donation.

Praise the Lord. We are glad you find Saved by Grace edifying.

Action

  • If you would like to become a member, please click "Register" in the "Log In" section on the top right column of the page. Members are allowed to comment on posts and other comments and may also provide Feedback.

Malachi 3:10 (NASB)
10  "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this," says the LORD of hosts, "if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.

  • If you benefit from this ministry and would like to support its efforts, projects, and missions, please consider making a tax deductible donation, of any amount. May God bless you for your generosity.




I need to discuss my situation confidentially.

James 5:16 (NASB)
16  Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially discuss the situation in your life that is troubling you. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

Contact Form








 

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Hebrews – Part 6: Enter the New Sanctuary

The writer of Hebrews exhorted Christians to assemble together in faith, hope, and support of one another in Christ Jesus.

Prologue

“Enter the New Sanctuary” is part 6 of a 10-part study on the Book of Hebrews. You may view any of the previous parts by clicking one of the links below.

Scripture

Hebrews 10:19-31 (NASB)
19 Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23  Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; 24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. 26 For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a terrifying expectation of judgment and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES. 28 Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29  How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know Him who said, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY.” And again, “THE LORD WILL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE.” 31 It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Opening Prayer

Heavenly Father, may Your name be glorified throughout all creation. You encourage us to gather in Your name. Be with us now. Let us feel Your presence as we study Your Word. We humbly pray in the name of Your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Probing Question

Why should Christians assemble together in faith, hope, and support of one another in Christ Jesus?

Transitional Sentence

Christians should assemble together in faith, hope, and support of one another in Christ Jesus because…

Main Points

1. We Must Draw Near In Faith

Hebrews 10:19-22 (NASB)
19 Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled cleanfrom an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

We have boldness to approach the throne of God because of

  • The blood of Jesus Christ
  • The broken body of Jesus Christ
  • Our great High Priest: Jesus Christ

We are not to have a spirit of fear (FEAR: False Evidence Appearing Real).

Romans 8:15-18 (NASB)
15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. 18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

2 Timothy 1:7-10 (NASB)
7 For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. 8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, 9  who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, 10 but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,

 2. We Must Hold Fast In Hope

Hebrews 10:23 (NASB)
23  Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;

Our Profession of Faith upon Which Our Hope is Built

  • Fellowship with God through Christ
  • Resurrection of the body
  • Everlasting life

Profess without wavering…

James 1:5-8 (NASB)
5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8 being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

We can be sure/steadfast and not waver because He is faithful that promised.

Hebrews 6:16-19 (NASB)
16 For men swear by one greater than themselves, and with them an oath given as confirmation is an end of every dispute. 17  In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, 18 so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. 19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil,

3. We Must Stir Up One Another In Love

Hebrews 10:24-25 (NASB)
24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

 Let us diligently and attentively

  • Consider each other’s
    • Trials
    • Difficulties
    • Weaknesses
  • Feel for each other
  • Excite each other to an increase of love to God and man;

and, as the proof of it, to be fruitful in good works.

Hebrews 13:3 (NASB)
3 Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body.

Romans 12:15 (NASB)
15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.

Romans 15:1-3 (NASB)
1 Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. 2 Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification. 3 For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “THE REPROACHES OF THOSE WHO REPROACHED YOU FELL ON ME.”

Hebrews 6:10-11 (NASB)
10  For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints. 11  And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end,

1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 (NASB)
12 and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all people, just as we also do for you; 13  so that He may establish your hearts without blame in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.

4. We Must Not Despise What Has Been Done for Us

Hebrews 10:26-31 (NASB)
26 For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a terrifying expectation of judgment and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES. 28 Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29  How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know Him who said, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY.” And again, “THE LORD WILL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE.” 31 It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

We must not despise/reject what Christ has done for us

  • Christ was the last and perfect sacrifice for sin, there is (will be) no other
  • All who reject His sacrifice have only the judgment to look forward to

Conclusion

Christians should assemble together in faith, hope, and support of one another in Christ Jesus because…

  • We must draw near in faith
  • We must hold fast in hope
  • We must stir up one another in love
  • We must not despise what has been done for us

Closing Prayer

Heavenly Father, give us the strength to gather together in the name of Your Son Jesus Christ for it is in His name that we pray, amen.

Epilogue

“Enter the New Sanctuary” is part 6 of a 10-part study on the Book of Hebrews. You may view any of the following parts by clicking one of the links below.

Gospel Invitation

Is the Holy Spirit stirring within your heart? Is He convicting you of the need to make changes in your life and/or calling you to take action? The Bible says:

James 4:17 (NASB)
17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

1 John 5:3 (NASB)
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

If the Holy Spirit is urging you to take action, it is important to respond with immediate obedience. Delayed obedience is disobedience. Please read the following sections that apply to your current situation and prayerfully consider the suggested course of actions.

I am lost. I need to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

John 3:16-18 (NASB)
16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Action

  • To learn more about Jesus and His gift of redemption, read God's Plan of Salvation. If you are already familiar with the Plan of Savation, skip forward to section How to Become a Christian.
  • If you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please let us know by participating in our poll located on the top left column of the page and filling out the Contact Form below.

I am saved; but, I have sin in my life that I need to confess and repent.

1 John 1:8-9 (NASB)
8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Acts 3:19 (NASB)
19  "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially confess the sin in your life and your desire to repent. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

I am saved; but, I need to rededicate my life to the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Action

  • In your own words, pray a prayer similar to the following:

Heavenly Father, I have fallen short of Your glory and have failed to live up to Your expecttions for me. Please forgive me. Lord, I rededicate my life to You. Not my will; but, Your will be done. Thank You for being a God of second chances. Use me Lord. Shape me and mold me into the person You would have me to be. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.

  • If you just rededicated your life to the Lord, please let us know by participating in our poll located on the top left column of the page and filling out the Contact Form below.

I benefit from this ministry and want to become a member and/or make a donation.

Praise the Lord. We are glad you find Saved by Grace edifying.

Action

  • If you would like to become a member, please click "Register" in the "Log In" section on the top right column of the page. Members are allowed to comment on posts and other comments and may also provide Feedback.

Malachi 3:10 (NASB)
10  "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this," says the LORD of hosts, "if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.

  • If you benefit from this ministry and would like to support its efforts, projects, and missions, please consider making a tax deductible donation, of any amount. May God bless you for your generosity.




I need to discuss my situation confidentially.

James 5:16 (NASB)
16  Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially discuss the situation in your life that is troubling you. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

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Hebrews – Part 3: Jesus: The Danger of Unbelief

The writer of Hebrews stressed the promise of God’s rest is fully realized through Christ whereas unbelief in Christ will meet the severest punishment.

Prologue

“Jesus: The Danger of Unbelief” is part 3 of a 10-part study on the Book of Hebrews. You may view any of the previous parts by clicking one of the links below.

Formats

This sermon is available in text, audio, and video formats.

Illustration

One great and fatal offense under the Old Testament was apostasy from the worship of Jehovah. This was punishable by death. It admitted of no repentance. The author strives to impress upon his readers that their danger was the same, their crime if they forsook Christ would be greater, and their punishment far more severe. It was greater, as much as Christ was greater than Moses, and His blood more sacred than that of bulls and goats. We need this caution and exhortation. – Source Unknown

Scripture

Hebrews 3 (NASB)
1 Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession; 2 He was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was in all His house. 3 For He has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, by just so much as the builder of the house has more honor than the house. 4 For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God. 5 Now Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later; 6 but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house—whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end. 7 Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, “Today if you hear His voice, 8 Do not harden your hearts as when they provoked Me, As in the day of trial in the wilderness, 9 Where your fathers tried Me by testing Me, And saw My works for forty years. 10 “Therefore I was angry with this generation, And said, ‘They always go astray in their heart, And they did not know My ways’; 11 As I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.’ ” 12 Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end, 15 while it is said, “Today if you hear his voice, Do not harden your hearts, as when they provoked Me.” 16 For who provoked Him when they had heard? Indeed, did not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses? 17 And with whom was He angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? 19 Sowe see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief.

Hebrews 4:1-13 (NASB)
1 Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it. 2 For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard. 3 For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said, “As I swore in My wrath, They shall not enter My rest,” although His works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4 For He has said somewhere concerning the seventh day: “and God rested on the seventh day from all His works”; 5 and again in this passage, “They shall not enter My rest.” 6 Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience, 7 He again fixes a certain day, “Today,” saying through David after so long a time just as has been said before, “Today if you hear his voice, Do not harden your hearts.” 8 For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that. 9 So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. 10 For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. 11 Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.

Opening Prayer

Heavenly Father, through the corruption of sin in the world, we are creatures of unbelief. Help us to be ever mindful of Your love, mercy, and grace. Let us not forget the gift of Your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Thank You for Your longsuffering. Help us in times of unbelief. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Probing Question

How does belief in Christ determine receipt of God’s promised rest or the severest punishment of His wrath?

Transitional Sentence

Our belief in Christ determines our receipt of God’s promised rest or the severest punishment of His wrath because…

Main Points

1. Christ is Superior to Moses

Both were faithful

Hebrews 3:1-2 (NASB)
1 Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession; 2 He was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was in all His house.

Builder vs. Building

Hebrews 3:3-4 (NASB)
3 For He has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, by just so much as the builder of the house has more honor than the house. 4 For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.

Servant vs. Son

Hebrews 3:5-6a (NASB)
5 Now Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later; 6 but Christ was faithfulas a Son over His house—whose house we are…

2. Danger of Unbelief

Hebrews 3:6b (NASB)  6 …whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.

Israel’s Unbelief in the Wilderness

Hebrews 3:7-11 (NASB)
7 Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, “Today if you hear His voice, 8 Do not harden your hearts as when they provoked Me, As in the day of trial in the wilderness, 9 Where your fathers tried Me by testing Me, And saw My works for forty years. 10 “Therefore I was angry with this generation, And said, ‘They always go astray in their heart, And they did not know My ways’; 11 As I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.’ “

Warning Against Unbelief

Hebrews 3:12-19 (NASB)
12 Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end, 15 while it is said, “Today if you hear his voice, Do not harden your hearts, as when they provoked Me.” 16 For who provoked Him when they had heard? Indeed, did not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses? 17 And with whom was He angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? 19 Sowe see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief.

Hebrews 4:1-2 (NASB)
1 Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it. 2 For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard.

Warning Against Not Entering God’s Rest

  • Necessity of Faith

Hebrews 4:3-11 (NASB)
3 For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said, “As I swore in My wrath, They shall not enter My rest,” although His works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4 For He has said somewhere concerning the seventh day: “and God rested on the seventh day from all His works”; 5 and again in this passage, “They shall not enter My rest.” 6 Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience, 7 He again fixes a certain day, “Today,” saying through David after so long a time just as has been said before, “Today if you hear his voice, Do not harden your hearts.” 8 For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that. 9 So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. 10 For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. 11 Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through followingthe same example of disobedience.

The “rest” is not referring to Canaan or present salvation but future promise of God. For if they had already possessed the rest, then they would not need to be urged to enter the rest. Rather, it is an exhortation not to be complacent. We have not arrived yet; it is something that they (and we) should “strive earnestly to enter”.

If “entering the rest” is a reminder for us not to be complacent, then “today” is an urgent reminder for us to accept God’s promise, His invitation. His promise is still available; but, it won’t last forever. If we keep on delaying the opportunity to accept God’s promise, one day we will live to regret it.

  • The Penetration of God’s Word

In addition to being warned against unbelief, complacency, and procrastination, we are warned against self-deception. We often think sins committed in private are not sins or don’t matter. Here, we’re reminded that nothing can escape from the scrutiny of God.

Hebrews 4:12-13 (NASB)
12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.

 Conclusion

How does belief in Christ determine receipt of God’s promised rest or the severest punishment of His wrath? Because:

  • Christ is superior to Moses
    • Both were faithful
    • Builder vs. Building
    • Servant vs. Son
  • Danger of Unbelief
    • Israel’s unbelief in the wilderness
    • Warning against unbelief
    • Warning against not entering God’s rest
      • Necessity of faith
      • The Penetration of God’s Word

Practical lessons to be learned:

  • Focus Our Thoughts on Jesus
    • Appreciate the esteemed position of Jesus in God’s household
    • If we associate with Him:
      • We are also accepted into the household of God
      • We enjoy the privileges Jesus gained for us through His sacrifice
  • Understand and Accept the Urgency to Repent
    • Do not to miss the opportunity to accept God’s invitation
      • God’s promise is still available, but it won’t last forever
      • If we keep on delaying the opportunity to accept God’s promise, one day we will live to regret it
    • Today Won’t Last Forever
  • Encourage Each Other Daily
    • This is why we come to
      • Worship together
      • Pray together
      • Study the Bible together
    • Even though we may belong to the minority group in today’s society, we should not and need not feel alone as we have the support and encouragement from each other
  • Take heart to Enter God’s Rest
    • Even when facing seemingly insurmountable obstacles
    • Let us hear the voices of Joshua and Caleb in our midst

Closing Prayer

Heavenly Father, may those who do not know You come to an everlasting knowledge of Your gift of salvation. May those who do know You grow in faith and obedience every day. Give us the courage, strength, and perseverence necessary to combat unbelief in our lives. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Use the audio player below if you are experiencing bandwidth problems with the video or would just prefer to listen to the audio only.

Use the video player below to watch a video of this sermon as it was delivered to Double Springs Baptist Church in Maben, Mississippi at their 11:00am Morning Service on Sunday, June 24, 2012. I pray it speaks to your heart.

Epilogue

“Jesus: The Danger of Unbelief” is part 3 of a 10-part study on the Book of Hebrews. You may view any of the following parts by clicking one of the links below.

Gospel Invitation

Is the Holy Spirit stirring within your heart? Is He convicting you of the need to make changes in your life and/or calling you to take action? The Bible says:

James 4:17 (NASB)
17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

1 John 5:3 (NASB)
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

If the Holy Spirit is urging you to take action, it is important to respond with immediate obedience. Delayed obedience is disobedience. Please read the following sections that apply to your current situation and prayerfully consider the suggested course of actions.

I am lost. I need to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

John 3:16-18 (NASB)
16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Action

  • To learn more about Jesus and His gift of redemption, read God's Plan of Salvation. If you are already familiar with the Plan of Savation, skip forward to section How to Become a Christian.
  • If you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please let us know by participating in our poll located on the top left column of the page and filling out the Contact Form below.

I am saved; but, I have sin in my life that I need to confess and repent.

1 John 1:8-9 (NASB)
8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Acts 3:19 (NASB)
19  "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially confess the sin in your life and your desire to repent. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

I am saved; but, I need to rededicate my life to the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Action

  • In your own words, pray a prayer similar to the following:

Heavenly Father, I have fallen short of Your glory and have failed to live up to Your expecttions for me. Please forgive me. Lord, I rededicate my life to You. Not my will; but, Your will be done. Thank You for being a God of second chances. Use me Lord. Shape me and mold me into the person You would have me to be. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.

  • If you just rededicated your life to the Lord, please let us know by participating in our poll located on the top left column of the page and filling out the Contact Form below.

I benefit from this ministry and want to become a member and/or make a donation.

Praise the Lord. We are glad you find Saved by Grace edifying.

Action

  • If you would like to become a member, please click "Register" in the "Log In" section on the top right column of the page. Members are allowed to comment on posts and other comments and may also provide Feedback.

Malachi 3:10 (NASB)
10  "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this," says the LORD of hosts, "if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.

  • If you benefit from this ministry and would like to support its efforts, projects, and missions, please consider making a tax deductible donation, of any amount. May God bless you for your generosity.




I need to discuss my situation confidentially.

James 5:16 (NASB)
16  Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially discuss the situation in your life that is troubling you. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

Contact Form








 

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The Best Is Yet To Come

When Cyrus took over Babylon in 538 B.C. and established the kingdom of Persia, the Hebrews came under a Persian governor. Permission was given for the exiles to return and restore their temples. After the death of Cyrus, and of his son Cambyses, Darius became ruler and continued the benevolent policies of Cyrus. Then Darius appointed Zerubbabel as governor with the specific responsibility of resuming work on the Temple, begun earlier by Shesh-bazzar.

Introduction

Background

Holman Bible Dictionary

When Cyrus took over Babylon in 538 B.C. and established the kingdom of Persia, the Hebrews came under a Persian governor. Permission was given for the exiles to return and restore their temples. After the death of Cyrus, and of his son Cambyses, Darius became ruler and continued the benevolent policies of Cyrus. Then Darius appointed Zerubbabel as governor with the specific responsibility of resuming work on the Temple, begun earlier by Shesh-bazzar.

Apparently the adjustments required of the returning exiles were so difficult that rebuilding their own homes and the Temple at the same time put a strain on their resources. They despaired of ever restoring the Temple to its former glory. Work on the Temple ceased. Haggai, along with Zechariah, helped Zerubbabel gain the support and help he needed from the returning exiles to carry out his assigned task.

Haggai’s answer was that if it was right for them to rebuild their own houses, it was also right for them to rebuild the Temple. Haggai noted that in rebuilding their own houses they had done well, but they were still not happy. His diagnosis was that they had neglected their spiritual lives. He said the way to correct their neglect was to rebuild the Temple.

  • Haggai directed his exhortation and prophecy to everyone at all levels
    • Who
      • Zerubbabel (Civil Leadership)
        • Son of Shealtiel
        • Descended from the royal line of David
        • Friend of Darius
          • Successfully competed before him in contest to determine the strongest thing in the world: wine, kings, women, or truth
            • Demonstrated truth was the mightiest of all
            • Became known as the king’s “cousin”
            • Granted permission to go to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple after the exile (537 BC)
          • Appointed Governor of Judah
          • Also served as Tax Collector
      • Joshua (Spiritual Leadership)
        • Son of Josedech
        • High priest
        • Returned from exile with Zerubbabel to rebuild the temple (537 BC)
          • Head of Levitical house which had oversight of the workmen in the temple
          • Led in rebuilding the altar
          • Led in restoring sacrifice
      • Lay People
        • Remnant
        • Those who would return/come
    • Action
      • Actively participate
        • 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NASB)
          19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
      • Actively seek the participation of others
        • Active Believers
          • Colossians 2:6-7 (NASB)
            6 Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7 having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, andoverflowing with gratitude.
        • Inactive Believers
          • 1 John 2:3-6 (NASB)
            3 By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; 5 but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: 6 the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.
        • Unbelievers
          • Matthew 28:18-20 (NASB)
            18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
          • Ezekiel 33:7-9 (NASB)
            7 “Now as for you, son of man, I have appointed you a watchman for the house of Israel; so you will hear a message from My mouth and give them warning from Me. 8 “When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require from your hand. 9 “But if you on your part warn a wicked man to turn from his way and he does not turn from his way, he will die in his iniquity, but you have delivered your life.

Questions

  • Do you find yourself dwelling on and trying to recapture past glories?
  • Are you tired and discouraged?

Good News

  • God Is with You
  • The Best Is Yet to Come

Scripture

Haggai 2:1-9 (NASB)
1 On the twenty-first of the seventh month, the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet saying, 2 “Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of the people saying, 3 ‘Who is left among you who saw this temple in its former glory? And how do you see it now? Does it not seem to you like nothing in comparison? 4 ‘But now take courage, Zerubbabel,’ declares the Lord, ‘take courage also, Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and all you people of the land take courage,’ declares the Lord, ‘and work; for I am with you,’ declares the Lord of hosts. 5 ‘As for the promise which I made you when you came out of Egypt, My Spirit is abiding in your midst; do not fear!’ 6 “For thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Once more in a little while, I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea also and the dry land. 7 ‘I will shake all the nations; and they will come with the wealth of all nations, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord of hosts. 8 ‘The silver is Mine and the gold is Mine,’ declares the Lord of hosts. 9 ‘The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘and in this place I will give peace,’ declares the Lord of hosts.”

Opening Prayer

Heavenly Father, all good things come from You. Through this sermon, please make plain to us how the best is yet to come. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Proposition

Be strong, work, and fear not for God is with us and the greater glory is yet to come.

Probing Question

What should we do when we are tired and discouraged?

Transitional Sentence

When tired and discouraged, we should…

Main Points

1. Be Strong

Haggai 2:4a (NASB)
4 ‘But now take courage, Zerubbabel,’ declares the Lord, ‘take courage also, Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and all you people of the land take courage,’ declares the Lord…

  • What?
    • Meanings
      • Be(come) Strong
      • Strengthen
      • Prevail
      • Harden
      • Be Courageous
    • Connotation
      • Prevail
      • Be Courageous
  • Why?
    • Haggai 2:4b (NASB)
      …for I am with you,’ declares the Lord of hosts.
  • Illustrations
    • The Lion’s Tail (Source Unknown)
      Adrian Rogers tells about the man who bragged that he had cut off the tail of a man-eating lion with his pocket knife. Asked why he hadn’t cut off the lion’s head, the man replied: “Someone had already done that.”
    • Courage is … (Eddie Rickenbacker, Bits & Pieces, April 29, 1993, p. 12)
      Courage is doing what you’re afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you’re scared.
    • “Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.” – John Wayne
    • “True heroism is remarkably sober, very un-dramatic.  It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever the cost.” – Tennis Star Arthur Ashe
  • How?
    • Have faith
      • Proverbs 3:5-6 (NASB)
        5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.
      • Philippians 4:13 (NASB)
        13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

2. Work

Haggai 2:4a (NASB)
4 ‘But now take courage, Zerubbabel,’ declares the Lord, ‘take courage also, Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and all you people of the land take courage,’ declares the Lord, ‘and work…

  • What?
    • Meanings
      • Do
      • Fashion
      • Accomplish
      • Make
    • Connotation
      • Do
      • Make
      • Used with a sense of ethical obligation
        • Covenant people frequently commanded to “do” all that God commanded
        • Goes beyond mere mental abstraction and translates into obedience evidenced in a demonstrable act
  • Why?
    • Haggai 2:4b (NASB)
      4 …for I am with you,’ declares the Lord of hosts.
  • Illustrations
    • “Instant obedience is the only kind of obedience there is; delayed obedience is disobedience.  Whoever strives to withdraw from obedience, withdraws from Grace.” – Thomas A. Kempis
    • “One step forward in obedience is worth years of study about it.” – Oswald Chambers (Our Daily Bread, March 4, 1993)
    • “The cost of obedience is nothing compared with the cost of disobedience.” – Anonymous
    • “It is a great deal easier to do that which God gives us to do, no matter how hard it is, than to face the responsibilities of not doing it.” = Dr. B. J. Miller (MBI’s Today In The Word, November, 1989, p.11)
  • How?
    • Demonstrate your faith in God through obedience to Him
      • James 2:14-26 (NASB)
        14 What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? 17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. 18 But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” 19 You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. 20 But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? 22 You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God. 24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For just as the body without thespirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

3. Fear Not

Haggai 2:4-5 (NASB)
4 ‘But now take courage, Zerubbabel,’ declares the Lord, ‘take courage also, Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and all you people of the land take courage,’ declares the Lord, ‘and work; for I am with you,’ declares the Lord of hosts. 5 ‘As for the promise which I made you when you came out of Egypt, My Spirit is abiding in your midst; do not fear!’

  • What?
    • Meanings
      • Fear
      • Be Afraid
      • Revere
    • Connotation
      • Fear
      • Be Afraid
      • Emotion of fear
      • Intellectual anticipation of evil without emphasis upon the emotional reaction
  • Why?
    • Haggai 2:4b-5a (NASB)
      4 …for I am with you,’ declares the Lord of hosts. 5 ‘As for the promise which I made you when you came out of Egypt, My Spirit is abiding in your midst…
  • Illustrations
    • Fear of Ridicule (Today in the Word, October 17, 1993)
      Anytime we are engaged in a work for God, we are likely to encounter the poison-tipped arrows of ridicule. A barrage of truth mingled with lies, innuendo, malicious gossip and implied threats is the normal experience of leaders. Malice arises from fear. And fear is a common response to someone else’s success. So expect to have your faults thrown in your face, your folly mocked and your real progress belittled. When this happens, by all means allow yourself to be cut down to size, but do not let yourself be dismayed or intimidated. Remember that the chorus of contempt has a diabolical conductor whose aim is to make your knees buckle. He likes tongue-tied, ineffective Christians and plays on your secret fears and inferiorities to make you one of them.
    • “I am full of fears and chasms of inferiority. Whenever I have listened to the enemy pointing them out I have stopped working for the kingdom. Yet in those moments when I have refused to listen to him and have feebly walked in obedience, I have been astonished at what God has done with my feeble performance.” – John White
  • How?
    • Persevere in your obedience to God through trust in Him
      • 2 Timothy 1:7 (NASB)
        7 For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.
      • Matthew 10:28 (NASB)
        28 “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
      • Hebrews 13:6 (NASB)
        6 so that we confidently say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?”
      • Romans 8:31 (NASB)
        31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who isagainst us?

Conclusion

God encourages people to be strong, work, and fear not for He is with us and the greater glory is yet to come.

When we are tired and discouraged we should:

  • Be Strong
  • Work
  • Fear Not

Because:

  • God is with us
    • Haggai 2:4b-5a (NASB)
      4 …for I am with you,’ declares the Lord of hosts. 5 ‘As for the promise which I made you when you came out of Egypt, My Spirit is abiding in your midst…
  • The best is yet to come
    • Haggai 2:6-9 (NASB)
      6 “For thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Once more in a little while, I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea also and the dry land. 7 ‘I will shake all the nations; and they will come with the wealth of all nations, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord of hosts. 8 ‘The silver is Mine and the gold is Mine,’ declares the Lord of hosts. 9 ‘The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘and in this place I will give peace,’ declares the Lord of hosts.”

Closing Prayer

Heavenly Father, almighty God, thank You for Your promise to never leave us nor forsake us. Because of Your presence and watchcare over us, we can be strong, serve You, and not be afraid. Thank You for Your promise to give us life and life more abundantly. Thank You that the best is yet to come. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Gospel Invitation

Is the Holy Spirit stirring within your heart? Is He convicting you of the need to make changes in your life and/or calling you to take action? The Bible says:

James 4:17 (NASB)
17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

1 John 5:3 (NASB)
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

If the Holy Spirit is urging you to take action, it is important to respond with immediate obedience. Delayed obedience is disobedience. Please read the following sections that apply to your current situation and prayerfully consider the suggested course of actions.

I am lost. I need to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

John 3:16-18 (NASB)
16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Action

  • To learn more about Jesus and His gift of redemption, read God's Plan of Salvation. If you are already familiar with the Plan of Savation, skip forward to section How to Become a Christian.
  • If you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please let us know by participating in our poll located on the top left column of the page and filling out the Contact Form below.

I am saved; but, I have sin in my life that I need to confess and repent.

1 John 1:8-9 (NASB)
8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Acts 3:19 (NASB)
19  "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially confess the sin in your life and your desire to repent. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

I am saved; but, I need to rededicate my life to the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Action

  • In your own words, pray a prayer similar to the following:

Heavenly Father, I have fallen short of Your glory and have failed to live up to Your expecttions for me. Please forgive me. Lord, I rededicate my life to You. Not my will; but, Your will be done. Thank You for being a God of second chances. Use me Lord. Shape me and mold me into the person You would have me to be. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.

  • If you just rededicated your life to the Lord, please let us know by participating in our poll located on the top left column of the page and filling out the Contact Form below.

I benefit from this ministry and want to become a member and/or make a donation.

Praise the Lord. We are glad you find Saved by Grace edifying.

Action

  • If you would like to become a member, please click "Register" in the "Log In" section on the top right column of the page. Members are allowed to comment on posts and other comments and may also provide Feedback.

Malachi 3:10 (NASB)
10  "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this," says the LORD of hosts, "if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.

  • If you benefit from this ministry and would like to support its efforts, projects, and missions, please consider making a tax deductible donation, of any amount. May God bless you for your generosity.




I need to discuss my situation confidentially.

James 5:16 (NASB)
16  Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially discuss the situation in your life that is troubling you. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

Contact Form








 

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Have Faith in God: Let Go and Let God

Christians who place their faith in God, rather than themselves, will be rewarded abundantly.

Illustration

A Possible Episode from the Twilight Zone…

  • Imagine if you will, the sun beating down unmercifully upon the tiny town of Zarephath, a remote village well to the north of the land of Palestine.
  • It is there that a poor, widow woman searches for sticks.
  • Why is she searching for sticks?
  • She is searching for sticks because she has no more fuel, and must find something to help her prepare one last meal for her and her son.
  • You see, it has not rained in over 3 years.
  • The land is hard and dry and parched and barren.
  • There is a terrible famine., and as usual, the poorest are hit the hardest.
  • She is resigned to the fact that there is nothing else she can do to sustain her own life.
  • But for the sake of her son, with the hopes that he might somehow survive, she gathers up sticks, trying to ignore the stomach pains and fatigue, yet feeling her life force slowly ebbing away.
  • As she bends down to pick up a dead, dry chunk of wood, she sees in the corner of her eye, from a distance, the hazy figure of a man approaching the town gates.
  • She glances up and as he draws nearer, she can tell by his attire that this stranger is a Jew.
  • And she marvels in the fact that he looks relatively healthy, well-fed, almost portly in appearance.
  • (She does not know that this man of God has been fed each day by Ravens sent by God!”)
  • And this stranger, this middle-aged Jewish man, walks up to the sin-sick widow, and makes a request.
  • “May I have some water to drink?”
  • She is preparing to die, with barely enough energy to complete her chores, and this stranger has the audacity to ask for a drink of HER precious water!
  • What would you do? What would you say?
  • We would likely say,
    • “Get your own water stranger, I have got to worry about myself!”
    • “I am the last person in the world you should be asking for provisions.”
    • Or (out of politeness) we might say, “I am sorry sir, I cannot help you. Perhaps some wealthy citizen of this town could be of assistance.”
  • INSTEAD, she offers no resistance at all.
  • She quickly gets up and hurries over to her water jug, to fetch him some water.
  • THEN, he pushes the issue.
  • “While you are at it Ma’am, could you also give me a little bread to eat?”
  • WHO IS THIS MAN?
  • She turns to the prophet and sadly confesses her plight.
  • She explains to him that she only has enough flour and oil to make one last meal for her and her son.
  • She explains that they are starving and near the point of death.
  • After an explanation like that, we might expect an apology out of this stranger.
  • But instead, he is even more pervasive.
  • “Well then”, he exclaims, “please use the last of your flour and the last of your oil and make me a cake of bread and let me eat it!”
  • Then he adds, “God has promised that if you will serve me what you have, He will take care of you!”
  • WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
  • They say that there is nothing among men as strong as a mother’s love for her children, YET imagine if you will, what may have happened next.
  • She walks into her mud hut.
  • Her son is sleeping on a mat on the floor.
  • She begins to cook up the ingredients, the boy awaking to the pleasant aroma.
  • But then she turns her back to her own son and walks out the door, to the stranger!
  • She gives the cake to the stranger who begins eating it, crumbs falling into his beard.
  • She goes back into her house.
  • She is afraid to look in the jars. BUT WHEN SHE DOES…
  • THERE IS OIL! THERE IS FLOUR!
  • Have we just entered the Twilight Zone?
  • The signpost up ahead reads, “1 Kings 17:8-16”

Scripture

1 Kings 17:8-16 (NASB)
8 Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, 9 “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and stay there; behold, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.” 10 So he arose and went to Zarephath, and when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks; and he called to her and said, “Please get me a little water in a jar, that I may drink.” 11 As she was going to get it, he called to her and said, “Please bring me a piece of bread in your hand.” 12 But she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I have no bread, only a handful of flour in the bowl and a little oil in the jar; and behold, I am gathering a few sticks that I may go in and prepare for me and my son, that we may eat it and die.” 13 Then Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go, do as you have said, but make me a little bread cake from it first and bring it out to me, and afterward you may make one for yourself and for your son. 14 “For thus says the Lord God of Israel, ‘The bowl of flour shall not be exhausted, nor shall the jar of oil be empty, until the day that the Lord sends rain on the face of the earth.’ ” 15 So she went and did according to the word of Elijah, and she and he and her household ate for many days. 16 The bowl of flour was not exhausted nor did the jar of oil become empty, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke through Elijah.

Opening Prayer

Heavenly Father, as we study Your Word, open our eyes to Your unending provisions. Help us to have faith in You and Your promises. Continue to love us and teach us how to love others as You do. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Probing Question

What should Christians recognize from the widow’s example of faith and obedience?

Transitional Sentence

From the widow’s example of faith and obedience, Christians should recognize…

Main Points

1. The Problem

1 Kings 17:8-12 (NASB)
8 Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, 9 “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and stay there; behold, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.” 10 So he arose and went to Zarephath, and when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks; and he called to her and said, “Please get me a little water in a jar, that I may drink.” 11 As she was going to get it, he called to her and said, “Please bring me a piece of bread in your hand.” 12 But she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I have no bread, only a handful of flour in the bowl and a little oil in the jar; and behold, I am gathering a few sticks that I may go in and prepare for me and my son, that we may eat it and die.”

  • The widow was at the end of her resources
  • She was preparing to give up… to die
  • She had next to nothing and Elijah was asking her to give up even that to him
  • REFLECT
    • Do we have anything we hold on to?
      • A person?
      • A dream?
      • A job?
      • A thing? (e.g., money, car, etc.)
      • Our will? (e.g., not surrendering to God, His gift of salvation, etc.)
    • It is not easy to give some things up
    • In faith, the widow gave up her and her son’s last meal
    • We have to learn in faith when to stop holding on and instead let go

2. The Promise

1 Kings 17:13-14 (NASB)
13 Then Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go, do as you have said, but make me a little bread cake from it first and bring it out to me, and afterward you may make one for yourself and for your son. 14 “For thus says the Lord God of Israel, ‘The bowl of flour shall not be exhausted, nor shall the jar of oil be empty, until the day that the Lord sends rain on the face of the earth.’ “

  • The resources at her disposal were not hers… she was only a steward
  • The widow was to steward the resources according to God’s will
  • God’s resources are limitless
  • The Bible tells us “The just shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:17)
    • What is faith?
      • Faith is believing in God
        • Romans 10:17 (NASB)
          17 So faith comesfrom hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.
      • Faith is believing without seeing
        • Hebrews 11:1 (NASB)
          1 Now faith is the assurance of thingshoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
    • The widow exercised biblical faith
  • Whenever God promises something, you can “take it to the bank”
    • Does this mean if we let God tell us what to give and we cannot give it; but, we give it anyway, we will be able to give it, and we will receive something back in return?
      • That is exactly what God tells us
        • Luke 6:38 (NASB)
          38 “Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, andrunning over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”
        • Matthew 6:33 (NASB)
          33 “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
    • Please be sure it is God leading you and not some TV Evangelist with ulterior motives

3. The Provision

1 Kings 17:15-16 (NASB)
15 So she went and did according to the word of Elijah, and she and he and her household ate for many days. 16 The bowl of flour was not exhausted nor did the jar of oil become empty, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke through Elijah.

  • The widow was an obedient steward of the resources at her disposal
  • God provided resources to the widow from His limitless supply
    • Some preachers debate whether the bowl and jar
      • Were full, or
      • Just did not run out
    • Does it matter?
      • That is not the point
      • The point is God’s supplies do not run out
        • It was true for the widow
        • It is true for us
    • God’s grace in our lives never runs out
      • John 1:16 (NASB)
        16 For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.
    • God’s Word never runs out
      • Matthew 24:35 (NASB)
        35 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.
    • God’s ability to meet our needs will never run out
      • Philippians 4:19 (NASB)
        19 And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
  • Would the widow have ever known God’s ability if she did not first have an inability?

Conclusion

From the widow’s example of faith and obedience, Christians should recognize:

  • The Problem – We are at the end of our resources
  • The Promise – “Our” resources are not ours, we are only stewards
  • The Provision – God’s resources are limitless to obedient stewards

We must have faith in God that results in obedient stewardship of the resources He has placed at our disposal.

We must “Let Go” and “Let God”

Closing Prayer

Our most gracious Heavenly Father, thank You for always supplying our need. Help us to remember we are only stewards of Your many blessings and as such, we should be blessings to others. Teach us not to rely on what we think we have; but rather, place our faith and trust in You, Whose supplies are limitless. Please forgive us our sins, for we ask these things in Jesus’ precious name. Amen.

Gospel Invitation

Is the Holy Spirit stirring within your heart? Is He convicting you of the need to make changes in your life and/or calling you to take action? The Bible says:

James 4:17 (NASB)
17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

1 John 5:3 (NASB)
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

If the Holy Spirit is urging you to take action, it is important to respond with immediate obedience. Delayed obedience is disobedience. Please read the following sections that apply to your current situation and prayerfully consider the suggested course of actions.

I am lost. I need to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

John 3:16-18 (NASB)
16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Action

  • To learn more about Jesus and His gift of redemption, read God's Plan of Salvation. If you are already familiar with the Plan of Savation, skip forward to section How to Become a Christian.
  • If you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please let us know by participating in our poll located on the top left column of the page and filling out the Contact Form below.

I am saved; but, I have sin in my life that I need to confess and repent.

1 John 1:8-9 (NASB)
8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Acts 3:19 (NASB)
19  "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially confess the sin in your life and your desire to repent. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

I am saved; but, I need to rededicate my life to the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Action

  • In your own words, pray a prayer similar to the following:

Heavenly Father, I have fallen short of Your glory and have failed to live up to Your expecttions for me. Please forgive me. Lord, I rededicate my life to You. Not my will; but, Your will be done. Thank You for being a God of second chances. Use me Lord. Shape me and mold me into the person You would have me to be. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.

  • If you just rededicated your life to the Lord, please let us know by participating in our poll located on the top left column of the page and filling out the Contact Form below.

I benefit from this ministry and want to become a member and/or make a donation.

Praise the Lord. We are glad you find Saved by Grace edifying.

Action

  • If you would like to become a member, please click "Register" in the "Log In" section on the top right column of the page. Members are allowed to comment on posts and other comments and may also provide Feedback.

Malachi 3:10 (NASB)
10  "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this," says the LORD of hosts, "if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.

  • If you benefit from this ministry and would like to support its efforts, projects, and missions, please consider making a tax deductible donation, of any amount. May God bless you for your generosity.




I need to discuss my situation confidentially.

James 5:16 (NASB)
16  Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially discuss the situation in your life that is troubling you. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

Contact Form








 

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Jesus Is the Only Acceptable Object of Saving Faith

Many people assume there are many paths to God and that each religion represents an aspect of truth. But Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6). He did not claim to be one of many equally legitimate paths to God, or the way to God for His day only. He claimed to be the only way to God – then and forever.

Some people think it does not matter what you believe as long as you are sincere. However, without a valid object your faith is useless.

If you take poison – thinking it is medicine – all the faith in the world will not restore your life. Similarly, if Jesus is the only source of salvation, and you are trusting in anyone or anything else for your salvation, your faith is useless.

Many people assume there are many paths to God and that each religion represents an aspect of truth. But Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6). He did not claim to be one of many equally legitimate paths to God, or the way to God for His day only. He claimed to be the only way to God – then and forever.

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