Summary: Hebrews 11 honors many of the great veterans of faith. Hebrews 12:1-2 encourages us to following the example of the veterans of our faith as they stood, fought, and served.
Following the Example of Our Veterans in The Faith
A veteran is one who has served in a military force, especially during a time of war or national conflict. A veteran is also one who has had long service or experience in an occupation, office, or activity. Hebrews 11 honors many of the great veterans of faith. Hebrews 12:1-2 encourages us to following the example of the veterans of our faith as they stood, fought, and served.
I. They stood even when it meant facing opposition
A. If you are going to live for Christ you are going to face certain opposition.
B. "When you meet the devil, you know you are not going his way. If you never meet him, you must be going in the same direction." – Unknown
C. We have the examples of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego
D. Daniel 3:16 “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.”
E. Daniel 6:10 “0 Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.”
F. 1 Corinthians 16:13 “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.”
G. Polycarp, just before his execution, said "Eighty and six years I have served Christ and He has done me nothing but good; how then could I curse Him, my Lord and Savior?" With that, he was burned alive. Are you willing to serve Him even if means death?
H. Ephesians 6:13 “Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
I. In ancient Rome, crowds by the tens of thousands would gather in the Coliseum to watch as Christians were torn apart by wild animals. Paul Rader, commenting on his visit to this famous landmark, said, "I stood uncovered to the heavens above, where He sits for whom they gladly died, and asked myself, ’Would I, could I, die for Him tonight to get this gospel to the ends of the earth?’" Rader continued, "I prayed most fervently in that Roman arena for the spirit of a martyr, and for the working of the Holy Spirit in my heart, as He worked in Paul’s heart when He brought him on his handcuffed way to Rome." Those early Christians "lived on the threshold of heaven, within a heartbeat of home, no possessions to hold them back." Our Daily Bread.
J. Are we willing to following the example of our veterans in the faith by standing even if it means certain opposition and persecution?
II. They fought the good fight of faith even when they appeared out numbered
A. As our country and the world becomes less and less tolerant of Christianity we may have to fight many battles outnumbered, despised and even looked upon as criminals and outcasts by a society that is embracing wickedness. But we are called to stand and fight for right even when seemingly outnumbered.
B. We have the examples of David and Goliath and of the disciples in the Book of Acts.
C. 1 Samuel 17:4-7 (HCSB) “Then a champion named Goliath, from Gath, came out from the Philistine camp. He was nine feet, nine inches tall and wore a bronze helmet and bronze scale armor that weighed 125 pounds. There was bronze armor on his shins, and a bronze sword was slung between his shoulders. His spear shaft was like a weaver’s beam, and the iron point of his spear weighed 15 pounds. In addition, a shield-bearer was walking in front of him. 17:24 “When all the Israelite men saw Goliath, they retreated from him terrified.” 17:32 “David said to Saul, "Don’t let anyone be discouraged by him; your servant will go and fight this Philistine!"17:47 “this whole assembly will know that it is not by sword or by spear that the LORD saves, for the battle is the LORD’s. He will hand you over to us.”
D. Acts 5:28-29 “Saying, Did not we straightly command you that ye should not teach in this name? And, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us. Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. 5:41-42 “And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.
And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.
E. 1 Timothy 6:12 “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.”