Summary: Everyone needs encouragement from time to time; even the people found in Hebrews 11 did. The epistle to the Hebrews was written to persons struggling in their faith. They needed encouragement to face bitter trials and persecution. These believers neede
The Secret to Encouragement
Everyone needs encouragement from time to time; even the people found in Hebrews 11 did. The epistle to the Hebrews was written to persons struggling in their faith. They needed encouragement to face bitter trials and persecution. These believers needed to see the finality of Christ and follow him. They needed to understand the supremancy of Christ revelation. They needed personal power just to live day by day. And they needed to respond to Christ in the proper spirit.
Hebrews 11 is the record of great faith. It inspires Christians to draw near to the Lord and stay near him. The secret of these saints’ accomplishments in the will of God is their faith. Faith is necessary to become a Christian, and it is necessary to live the Christian life. Deepening our spiritual lives calls for a deepening of our faith. This chapter identifies great faith as the secret to encouragement. Here are five thoughts that support this.
I. Great Faith has a great God.
a. Hebrews 11:6 states that the first fundamental fact of life is that “[God] is…”
i. The Bible does not argue the existence of God; it merely announces it and accepts it
ii. Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God….”
1. This is what the Bible declares throughout its pages.
iii. It is a book of the experiences of people believing in God – God revealing, people responding.
b. He is a great God, worthy of our faith.
i. New discoveries open the curtain to a greater revelation of God’s greatness.
ii. The immensity of the cosmic system is awesome!
iii. The star Betelguese in the Orion constellation has a diameter of 270 million miles, which is three times the distance of our earth to the sun.
iv. Yet is dwarfed by Alpha Hercules, a star so fantastically huge that if it occupied our sun’s position, it would engulf the earth and extend beyond the orbit of Mars.
v. About 3,500 stars are visible to the naked eye: 12,000 can be seen with good field glasses; and 1.5 billion can be seen with a powerful telescope.
vi. God is indeed great.
c. He is a God of power, knowledge, and purpose.
i. He has a plan for the ages; his purpose is at work
ii. The people in Hebrews 11 answered the call of faith in God’s purpose.
iii. And this is the call that comes to us today – great faith in a great God!
II. Great faith has great trials
a. Abraham was called a “friend” of God and was commended for his great faith.
i. His deep trial of faith is recorded in Genesis 22.
ii. Isaac was the promised son and heir of God’s promise to bless the nations.
iii. God told Abraham to offer him as a sacrifice.
iv. Abraham obeyed!
v. The key to understanding his spirit is in his deep belief that God would raise Isaac up again.
b. This same God who lets us be tried will also fully provide for us.
i. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “No temptation has over taken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful…”
ii. It is the picture of an army trapped in a pass, yet a way of escape is found.
iii. We are not sheltered from hardships, but God provides for us and never lets us go beyond his love and care.
III. Great faith has a great commitment.
a. People of faith have intense commitment
i. By faith Noah built an ark to save his family
ii. Faith motivated Abraham to be sent away from his home to an undisclosed land.
iii. Moses’ commitment of faith caused him to turn his back on power, prestige, and fame to dedicate himself to the afflicted people of God.
b. Faith costs something!
i. Hebrews 12:1-2 says we are to lay aside the weights and the besetting sin of our lives to run with patience the race before us.
ii. A young Christian attorney had staged a successful campaign to become a state senator. Having completed the necessary study for the practice of law, he felt that he could cope with any problem that might arise. During his first session in the senate, he was offered a sum of money to vote in favor of a bill.
In his hotel room he remembered his indebtedness. He still owed for part of his education; he had borrowed money to set up his practice; and he asn his wife needed money for the expenses of a new baby. The sum offered would cover all his indebtedness and give him a nice bank account. But he was not in favor of the bill and had planed to vote against it.
Each time he felt he had reached a decision, he would remember the money. In desperation he knelt and prayed, “Dear God, help me to make the decision that you would have me to make.” Taking his Bible, he found God’s answer! He voted his conscience.