Archive for the ‘Jesus Christ’ Category


women are powerfulIn preaching through 1 Peter, I find myself staring at chapter 3 and wondering how I can possibly make it relevant to 21st Century American women. I know that most women under the age of 40 will hear these verses and inwardly think, “no way…, you don’t know the man I’m married to” or “if I do that I will be taken so taken advantage of.” These verses run so counter to what schools and media portray to girls and young women that I thought it would be best to re-write the Scriptures to reflect how most American women are taught to think. If you think I am wrong, let me know, but I think this is very accurate. The bullet point is the verse restated in 21st Century societal practice.  woman power

1 Peter 3:1-6

(1)  Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives,

  • Likewise wives, get along with your husbands, as long as they obey the Word, and do not interfere with your rights,be a woman a man needs

(2)  when they see your respectful and pure conduct.

  • for they must earn your respect and will be treated as they treat you.

(3)  Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—

  • Keep up with all the latest fashions, for you must present a visually successful and attractive image to influence others and keep your husband’s attention.

Woman wth meek and queit spirit(4)  but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.

(5)  For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands,

  • And remember this is the 21st century, and women have been empowered to lead and succeed, and no longer have to follow behind men. Your power to succeed is within you.

Sarah called Abraham Lord(6)  as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.

    • You no longer have to follow antiquated stereotypes, for you have the power to be your own woman. In marriage as in life, view yourself equal to men

    • So, you think I am being ridiculous? No, the idea of a 21st Century American woman being a “Sarah” and calling her husband “Lord” is ridiculous to 98% of Christian woman. This notion is laughed out of Evangelical churches. Perhaps “Godly Women” give it lip service, but in reality this is a foreign idea in modern America. Woman who follow this are looked down upon with scorn and even derision. So how does a Pastor teach this with authority and application that makes sense in modern America? He can’t without sounding either crazy or chauvinistic. However, I believe there is a way to teach 1 Peter 3 so it makes sense to a modern woman. In order to do so, we must view these verses in light of the “template” that Peter wants us to place over these verses. It is a template that came to frame his whole way of living. Stay tuned…resilient woman

      woman has to fight for it

 

woman or power

  • WE CAN DO IT WOMAN POWER

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PerfeHebrews 12 What makes the course worth runningction

And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect[1]. Hebrews 11:39-40

  • teleióō; complete, mature. To complete, make perfect by reaching the intended goal.

Gods Purpose for us is Sonship by FaithWhat makes us perfect? Why did the Old Testament Heroes of faith have to wait on us to be made perfect?

Becasue they could not have Sonship until the Only Begotten Son had proven Himself to be the perfect Son! God’s purpose for our lives is to live as Sons by Faith. Faith will bring us to the perfection God has in mind for us-Sonship. In order for that to happen, we must agree to run the course God has for us, and run it not in the flesh, but by Faith in Jesus Christ and His power for life!

Faith Brings us to Perfection

Faith is essential to making us perfect! Faith is more than a belief. It is belief that expresses itself in two essential life changing components – the hope for God arising from need, and the resulting desire to demonstrate the reality of God’s Kingdom in our daily living. (Hebrews 11:1,6)

Faith in God has always been Essential

Faith Makes You PerfectGod wanted his people to realize the importance of living by faith. He outlined a life of faith in the first five books of the Bible. He gave them a way of living that He hoped would lead them to live a life of faith, and they turned it into a burdensome set of rules and laws. There was no demonstration of the supernatural reality of God’s Kingdom. Their obedience was not relationship based but a fleshly fear and tradition religious observance. There was no faith that arose from a heart-felt need for this loving and awesome invisible God. God’s Kingdom became a list of physical chores that was impossible to complete in the flesh. Their lives failed to demonstrate the invisible God who desires to walk and live among us. The Jews followed a religion as best they could in their own strength, and in so doing lost sight of the power of this awesome invisible God. The God of Awesome Power became a God of the past to the generations who followed. They grew up hearing, but no longer saw for themselves.

We have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us, what work thou didst in their days, in the times of old. Psalm 44:1

A few verses from Leviticus (26:1-4) illustrate God’s heart for His people and His desire for them to understand the need for living by faith:

“You shall not make idols for yourselves or erect an image or pillar, and you shall not set up a figured stone in your land to bow down to it, for I am the LORD your God.”

1. I am the only God that can meet all your needs. I am invisible, and there is no image that can adequately express me. Your lives are the means of my expression.

“You shall keep my Sabbaths and reverence my sanctuary: I am the LORD.”

2. Simply demonstrate my reality by doing something the whole world will be in awe at: observe the Sabbath, and reverence my sanctuary as if I was really there (I AM). (Understand that most heathen places of worship were anything but reverential)

“If you walk in my statutes and observe my commandments and do them,”

3. Follow the Way, the Truth and the Life (Need for Jesus Christ)

  1. Walk in (He is the Way)
  2. Observe my (His Word is the Truth for our living)
  3. Do them (His life is to be our daily life)

Their lives were to be lived in the power of God’s Word and God’s Way. His Word contained designs for living that would do miraculous things in their health, finances and safety, far beyond their fleshly abilities. God wanted them to live in full need of His provision and power.

“Then I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.” Leviticus 26:1-4

4. I Will…

  1. If the people’s faith led them to live lives in demonstration of His reality, God would do amazing things.
  2. The picture contained in the verses paint a portrait of the Garden of Eden (although tainted by sin)
  3. God would walk among His people because they were living representatives of His Kingdom.

Why did the Jews fail to see God’s desire for a relationship in His Law? Why did they turn God’s design for relationship into a religion of burdensome laws that failed to reproduce God’s life in them?

Failure of the Law

The failure was the Law. Hebrews 8:7 says it was flawed. It contained the elements of a relationship, but made no provision for a fundamental change in the heart. This was critical, because this relationship with God is not a matter of fleshly obedience. As Paul says:

For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. Romans 2:28-29

Life Changing Faith Requires a New Heart

Christ ministers a New HeartFor faith to be life-changing, there must be a provision for a changed heart. The flesh with all of its desires and corruption is too much to overcome. The power of the flesh had to be destroyed.

This was accomplished once and for all by Jesus Christ. He overcame all! He became the living power behind the “Way, Truth and Life” request of Leviticus 26:3. Instead of God waiting upon man to “walk, observe and do” before “He will”, God acted and gave us His Son as our “Way, Truth and Life.” (John 14:6)

Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, we now have the promise of a new heart, a heart that has the power to “walk, observe and do…”(from Lev 26:3). We have the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:39) and the promise that we are no longer servants of sin and the flesh (Romans 6:6-7). The power of Satan has been completely destroyed (1 John 3:8). This is why Paul can confidently assure us:

„ and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:5

„ But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, Romans 6:17

The success of our living by faith and enjoying a supernatural relationship with an invisible God depends totally upon having a new heart! The writer of Hebrews confirms this when he illustrates the power of the New Covenant in Jesus Christ:

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. Hebrews 8:7-11

Once more Paul brings this home in Galatians.

For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. Galatians 6:15

Our works do not matter unless they come from a new heart created by the new birth of the Holy Spirit. Faith is the only means of pleasing God (Heb 11:6), for faith alone is the transformative power whereby we are declared righteous (Heb 11:7,Rom 4:3), declared justified (Rom 5:1) and declared to be God’s Son (Gal 3:26).

Ridderbos has this to say on the connection between faith and the entire Christian life:

“One can conclude nothing other than that faith is the way in which, having died and risen with Christ, life through the Spirit, putting on the new man, being renewed after the image of Christ, regeneration, in short, the new creation of God, is realized and individualized.”[2]

So it is by faith that we walk in God, observe His design and do His will. It is by faith that we have life that is overcoming and eternal. Faith is the victory that overcomes the world (1 John 5:4).

Sonship is God’s Design of Perfection for Us!

Perfection is SonshipGod is bringing all who by faith give their lives to His Son for His intended Goal and that is complete Sonship.

to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. Galatians 4:5-7

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption[i] as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. Ephesians 1:3-6

God’s design and plan for all born again believers is achieve “toga virilis” status in the Kingdom. “Toga virilis” was the ceremony whereby the father declared his boy to be a true “Son”, a man, mature, able to vote and conduct business on the father’s behalf. Indeed, the son was to be regarded as an extension of the father. The son was to be the manager and heir of the father’s estate. All that the father had was the sons. A father could even go outside the family if he did not think his boys were worthy. He could ‘adopt’ another young man and place him as the Son to manage his goods and inherit everything.

We are to be worthy heirs of all that is His, placed as Sons by His grace. Sons who will reign as Priests with the authority of Jesus Christ over the New Heaven and New Earth, which will be joined, for the desire of God dwelling with man will be realized for all eternity. Paradise will be found, for Christ has secured the “Title Deed” to the Earth (Rev 5:1-11)!

Fulfilling God’s Design to receive adoption as sons is why Hebrews 12:1 & 2 are so important. There is a great deal at stake in our completing the course. Following Christ and being conformed to His likeness as Sons is not a leisurely stroll. It is not a 50 meter dash. It is not a onetime confession you make as a youth. Attaining the Adoption and “toga virilis” status of Sonship is a life-long journey that requires endurance and a faith commitment to Jesus Christ.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfector of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2

Hebrews  is  all  about  our  Perfection  as Sons

  • Hebrews is about our Perfection as SonsFor it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. Hebrews 2:10
  • And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, Hebrews 5:9
  • (For the law made nothing perfect); but on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God. Hebrews 7:19
  • For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever. Hebrews 7:28
  • (Which is symbolic for the present age). According to this arrangement, gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper, Hebrews 9:9
  • But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent ( not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) Hebrews 9:11
  • For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near. Hebrews 10:1
  • For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. Hebrews 10:14
  • Since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect. Hebrews 11:40
  • and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, Hebrews 12:23
  • Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. Hebrews 13:21

Jesus Endured the Cross and Achieved Complete Sonship

  • For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. Hebrews 2:10
  • And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, Hebrews 5:9
The Perfection of Christ as Son enables our perfection as Sons

Sonship Requires a Decision

I am not talking about children of God. You can remain a baby or a toddler if you want. Babies don’t have faith; for they are too busy feeding off their surroundings. They do not have the ability to reach up and grow in faith. Toddlers are too busy trying to avoid falling. They do not need faith because they are too focused on the obstacles round them, or the bright shiny toys.

Only those who desire the toga virilis require faith, those who want to be Sons of God, who want to reign with Him. Sons must grow up, train, and endure tests and trial before they are awarded the toga virilis. Do you want to be a Son? Then step forward by faith and start living as if you are a Son of God! Start running the Course God has for you by Faith!

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2

Faith gives power for SonshipFaith Provides the Power for Sonship

1. Run the Course

Therefore. Reaching back and gathering together all the heroes of faith, who by faith endured so much for promises they never obtained in this life (from chapter 11). They never knew Christ, but we have!
They are our witnesses[3]

  • does not mean spectators, but those who have born witness to the truth,

2. Run[4] with endurance[5].

  • Run with both passive endurance and active persistence.
  • Bear up under, patience, endurance as to things or circumstances. This is in contrast to makrothumía, long-suffering or endurance toward people. Hupomoné is associated with hope (patience of hope-1 Thess. 1:3) and refers to that quality of character which does not allow one to surrender to circumstances or succumb under trial.

3. Lay aside fleshly encumbrances[6]

  • A tumor, mass, magnitude, weight, burden, impediment
  • Lay aside swollen pride, dependence upon the flesh. These are fleshly things which tend to trip us up from living by faith!

4. Lay aside sin[7]

  • Sin of self reliance, not wanting God’s design in your life
  • Guilt that accompanies your sin

5. Run the Course that God Assigns You.

  • The specific word for a race (dromos) is not used, the general term for an athletic contest (agon) being chosen. The words “set before us” (prokeimai) give one the idea that a certain type of race is placed before the Christian.
  • The idea in the word prokeimai is that of something lying before you. It is like a road that stretches out before one’s gaze[8].

Sonship requires Determined Choices

So we must consider the course before us, and determine to run it, no matter the cost. We must realize this is a marathon, and trials will be great. There can be no turning back. There can be no excuses. Remember all those who testified before to the worthwhile pursuit of this course. But also remember the one who is our ultimate example…Jesus Christ!

Running the Course with Faith Produces SonshipLook to Jesus Daily
There is No Faith for Sonship Without Jesus Christ

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2

1. Looking[9] unto Jesus

  • Fix your mind intently upon Jesus.
  • The word “looking” is aphorao “to turn the eyes away from other things and fix them on something.” The word also means “to turn one’s mind to a certain thing.”[10]
  • Let this mind be in you (Phil 2:5)
  • Be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Rom 12:2)

2. The author and perfector of our faith[11]

  • (No “our”). He is the author and the completeness of faith.
  • This means that Jesus is the one who initiates (and completes) faith in the souls of men.
  • In the context faith is treated as a way of life. The author summons a “cloud of witnesses” whose lives testify to the reward of the life of faith. Jesus stands as the chief witness for it was He who blazed the trail and gave us the ideal model of “the faith[12]

Nazi Prisoners go crazy without purposeAn Illustration from a Nazi Concentration Camp

In a Nazi concentration camp in Hungary during the Second World War prisoners were forced to do nauseating work in a sewage plant. But it was work; and something was accomplished. Then the plant was destroyed by allied bombers. So the Nazi officers arranged for the prisoners to shovel sand into carts and drag it to the other end of the plant and dump it. The next day they ordered them to shovel it back into the carts and bring it to where they started. And so it went for days.

Finally one old man began crying uncontrollably; the guards hauled him away. Another screamed until he was beaten into silence. Then a young man who had survived three years in the camp darted away from the group. The guards shouted for him to stop as he ran toward the electrified fence. The other prisoners cried out, but it was too late; there was a blinding flash and a terrible sizzling noise as smoke puffed from his smoldering flesh. In the days that followed, dozens of the prisoners went mad and ran from their work only to be shot by guards or electrocuted by the fence (Charles Colson, Kingdoms in Conflict, p. 68).

You can run the course that you want, but you will drop out, go crazy or kill yourself without running for the purpose God has for you! Why don’t you lay your course at the cross and die to what you want and have planned, and tell God that you want to run for Sonship, by Faith in the power of His Son, Jesus Christ!


[1] teleióō; contracted teleió, fut. teleiósō, from téleios <G5046>, complete, mature. To complete, make perfect by reaching the intended goal. Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 1373.

[2] Herman Ridderbos, Paul: An Outline of his Theology, trans. John R. de Witt (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans, 1975), 233.

[3] Witnesses (μαρτύρων) does not mean spectators, but those who have born witness to the truth, as those enumerated in ch. 11. Yet the idea of spectators is implied, and is really the principal idea. The writer’s picture is that of an arena in which the Christians whom he addresses are contending in a race, while the vast host of the heroes of faith who, after having born witness to the truth, have entered into their heavenly rests watches the contest from the encircling tiers of the arena, compassing and overhanging it like a cloud, filled with lively interest and sympathy, and lending heavenly aid. Marvin R. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, (New York: Scribners, 1887), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, under: “Hebrews Chapter 12″.

[4] Ὑπομονὴ includes both passive endurance and active persistence. Marvin R. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, (New York: Scribners, 1887), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, under: “Hebrews Chapter 12″.

[5] hupomoné; fem. noun from hupoménō <G5278>, to persevere, remain under. A bearing up under, patience, endurance as to things or circumstances. This is in contrast to makrothumía <G3115>, long-suffering or endurance toward people. Hupomoné is associated with hope (1 Thess. 1:3) and refers to that quality of character which does not allow one to surrender to circumstances or succumb under trial. Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, under: “ὑπομονή”.

[6] A tumor, mass, magnitude, weight, burden, impediment. Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, under: “ogkos”.

[7] Sin, missing the true end and scope of our lives, which is God. An offense in relation to God with emphasis on guilt. Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 130.

[8] Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies – Volume 2: Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1973), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 214.

[9] aphoráō; contracted aphoró, fut. apópsomai, from apó <G575> an intens., and horáō <G3708>, to look. To look away steadfastly or intently toward a distant object. Metaphorically, to behold in the mind, to fix the mind upon (Phil. 2:23; Heb. 12:2).Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “áphorao”.

[10] Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies – Volume 2: Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1973), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 214.

[11]Christ is the archegon, the chief leader of this faith in that He “furnished the perfect development, the supreme example of faith, and in virtue of this He is the leader of the whole believing host of all time.” He is also the finisher of the faith spoken of in these chapters. The word is teleioo which means “to carry through completely, to finish, to make perfect or complete.”Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies – Volume 2: Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1973), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 214.

[12] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “árchegos”.


[i] Barclays has this to say about Roman Adoption process…

“We must understand how serious and complicated a step Roman adoption was that we really under stand the depth of meaning in this passage. Roman adoption was always rendered more serious and more difficult by the Roman patria potestas. This was the father’s power over his family; it was the power of absolute disposal and control, and in the early days was actually the power of life and death. In regard to his father, a Roman son never came of age. No matter how old he was, he was still under the patria potestas, in the absolute possession and under the absolute control, of his father. Obviously this made adoption into another family a very difficult and serious step. In adoption a person had to pass from one patria potestas to another.

There were two steps. The first was known as mancipatio, and was carried out by a symbolic sale, in which copper and scales were symbolically used. Three times the symbolism of sale was carried out. Twice the father symbolically sold his son, and twice he bought him back; but the third time he did not buy him back and thus the patria potestas was held to be broken. There followed a ceremony called vindicatio. The adopting father went to the praetor, one of the Roman magistrates, and presented a legal case for the transference of the person to be adopted into his patria potestas. When all this was completed, the adoption was complete. Clearly this was a serious and an impressive step.

But it is the consequences of adoption which are most significant for the picture that is in Paul’s mind. There were four main ones. (i) The adopted person lost all rights in his old family and gained all the rights of a legitimate son in his new family. In the most binding legal way, he got a new father. (ii) It followed that he became heir to his new father’s estate. Even if other sons were afterwards born, it did not affect his rights. He was inalienably co-heir with them. (iii) In law, the old life of the adopted person was completely wiped out; for instance, all debts were cancelled. He was regarded as a new person entering into a new life with which the past had nothing to do. (iv) In the eyes of the law he was absolutely the son of his new father. Roman history provides an outstanding case of how completely this was held to be true. The Emperor Claudius adopted Nero in order that he might succeed him on the throne; they were not in any sense blood relations. Claudius already had a daughter, Octavia.

To cement the alliance Nero wished to marry her. Nero and Octavia were in no sense blood relations; yet, in the eyes of the law, they were brother and sister; and before they could marry, the Roman senate had to pass special legislation.

That is what Paul is thinking of. He uses still another picture from Roman adoption. He says that God’s spirit witnesses with our spirit that we really are his children. The adoption ceremony was carried out in the presence of seven witnesses. Now, suppose the adopting father died and there was some dispute about the right of the adopted son to inherit, one or more of the seven witnesses stepped forward and swore that the adoption was genuine. Thus the right of the adopted person was guaranteed and he entered into his inheritance. So, Paul is saying, it is the Holy Spirit himself who is the witness to our adoption into the family of God.


Hebrews has the Fulness of Jesus Christ in View.

He is superior in every aspect of His earthly life. His is superior to the angels, the old covenant, the Priests, the sacrifices. He is the realization of the Old Testament. He is the hope that substantiated their faith. He is the visible demonstration of the unseen and invisible God. What made Him superior to every aspect of what had come before was His Sonship.

sonship_toga_virilus

But in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. Hebrews 1:2

  • Because of His Sonship, Christ has a better relationship with Creator God. (1 vs. 5)
  • Because of His Sonship, Christ has an eternal throne (1 vs. 8)
  • Because of His Sonship, Christ is the faithful manager of God’s House. (3 vs. 6)
  • Because of His Sonship, Christ is made our Great High Priest (5 vs. 5)
  • Because of His Sonship, Christ suffered and learned obedience (5 vs. 8)
  • Because of His Sonship, there is punishment for all those who spurn Him (10 vs. 29)

Hebrews presents the truth that we can share in His Sonship

Sonship brother of JesusIn illustrating vividly the power of the Sonship of Christ, God wants us to realize the power of our Sonship! Hebrews is a book about the Potential of our Sonship! God makes that crystal clear early in chapter 2:9-16:

But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, saying, “I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.” And again, “I will put my trust in him.” And again, “Behold, I and the children God has given me.” Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham.

As Sons of God by faith, we are the offspring of Abraham, whose offspring are the children of promise.

Just as Christ grew in His Sonship through obedience during suffering, so we are challenged to grow through endurance in the face of hardship and tribulation. This requires FAITH!

togavirilustoga virilis ceremonyThis is where we are in Hebrews, at chapter 11, discovering the importance of Faith for our growth as Sons of God. The Hebrews in Rome knew fully what it meant to be the declared “Son of a Praetor”. Or a Senator. The father, who had absolute authority over his family, would declare one of his sons “toga virilis” and there would be a ceremony and celebration for the father has declared a son to oversee the inheritance when he was gone. The son had passed every test and endured years of training and education. Now he was a man, the “Son” of the Praetor, or the Senator. Birth into the home did not guarantee you would achieve toga virilis status. If there were no sons worthy, or no sons at all, then one would be adopted into the family. Sonship was everything in ancient Rome!

Hebrews 11 has OUR Sonship in View.

Without Faith, there can be no “Toga Virilis” Sonship!

Vs 1: Faith is two things-Substantiating and Demonstrating. Faith empowers our Unseen Hopes and Unseen Things.

A. Faith has three essential Attributes as noted in three men of faith:

  • The Attribute of Sacrifice – Abel
  • The Attribute of Pleasing God – Enoch
  • The Attribute of Salvation – Noah
  1. Faith Substantiates His Reality in your life (HE IS)
    1. Sacrifice (Abel)
    2. Serving (Enoch)
    3. Saving (Noah)
  2. Faith Empowers (Proves) God’s Rewards
    1. Abel offers blood sacrificeAcceptance (Abel)
    2. Ascension (Enoch)
    3. Heir of Righteousness (Noah)
    4. Jesus Christ is the Center of our Faith
  3. The Sonship of Christ is the Focus of our Faith
    1. Abel pictures the perfect atoning blood sacrifice that is Jesus Christ.
    2. Abel pictures the acceptance that all Sons of Faith share in Jesus Christ.

B. Faith is the only way you can please God (Be well accepted)(Heb 11:6)

To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. Ephesians 1:6

  1. Enoch pictures the Risen Christ, who pleased God (This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased)
  2. Noah pictures the Righteousness that is Christ and the Salvation we have in Him alone.

The Result of our Faith

Not necessarily to heal or make you rich or a mighty preacher of God. The ultimate result of your Faith is to bring you into Full Sonship of God! As Christ is formed in your life by faith, you attain Sonship.

But as many as received him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: John 1:12

sonship11For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. Romans 8:14-17

And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. Romans 8:23

For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. Romans 8:29

As indeed he says in Hosea, “Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’ and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’ ” “And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’ ” Romans 9:25-26 (Quoted Hosea 2:23)

The Importance of Faith in our Growth as Sons of God

Why is faith so important in our attaining Sonship? Look at these examples of faith and see that they typify the very author of faith-Jesus Christ! Faith is Jesus Christ. Our Sonship is through Jesus Christ. There is no sonship without faith, because faith and Jesus are synonymous!

By faith Isaac invoked future blessings on Jacob and Esau.

  • ‘In Isaac your seed shall be called’” (Hebrews 11:18) Isaac is a type of Christ. He is the Son of Promise. We receive our sonship by trusting in the Promised Savior.
  • Isaac was taken to be sacrificed, yet at the last moment God stopped Abraham and said, there is a sacrifice, for I am Jehovah Jireh, God will provide. Jesus is our sacrifice.
  • Isaac blessed his two sons. We are blessed in Jesus Christ, by faith.
  • By Faith you can bless your children and grandchildren.

Jacob at PenuelBy faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff.

  • Jacob was the son chosen to receive the birthright, for his brother was a fleshly man (Jesus the second Adam)
  • Jacob wrestled with the angel of God, and his name was changed to Israel, for he had power with God and man.
  • Jacob-leaned on his staff Heb 11_21Jacob here is blessing the sons of Joseph, worshipping God, and leaning upon his staff. He is a picture of the Savior, broken through the discipline of the Cross, and through his suffering, bringing blessing to sons.
  • Jacob is a reminder that our sufferings and trials will bring blessing as long as they lead us to lean upon our Savior.

By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones.

Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here.” Genesis 50:25

  • Joseph is a type of Christ. There is no mention of any failing in his life. He was sacrificed by his brothers, which later led to their salvation.
  • The Passover Lamb was not to have any bones broken.
  • Jesus had no bones broken, because He is our Passover Lamb.
  • So when Joseph gave instructions about his bones, it is a reminder that God gave directions regarding the bones of His Son.

And Ephesians says: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. Ephesians 5:30

  • Our strength of faith is in His bones!

Mom saves Baby MosesBy faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.

  • There is no greater beauty to God than His Son Jesus Christ
  • Mary & Joseph took Jesus into Egypt because of the edict of King Herod.
  • God protected His son from the onslaught of Satan.
  • By faith we trust God to protect our children.

By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.

  • Jesus denied the temptations of Christ, choosing rather to follow the will of His Father, rather than his own will.

Moses My IdolHe considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.

  • Jesus set His face as a flint to the Cross, enduring the pain and shame, looking to the joy before Him

By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible.

  • Jesus endured the Cross, never fearing the anger of the crowd, for His face was set upon the joy of His Father

By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them.

  • Jesus became the Passover Lamb, sprinkling His Holy blood upon the wrath of God upon man, destroying the destroyer, death and sin.

By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as on dry land, but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned.

  • Jesus walked on water as on dry ground, and promises His power in the storms of life, but all those who embrace the world will be overcome and judged.

By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days.

  • Jesus entered the walls of Jerusalem with the shouts of Hosanna ringing throughout the city. Seven days later He tore down the veil that separated Holy God from sinful man.

Meet Rahab the ProstituteBy faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.

  • Rahab hung a scarlet cord outside her window. By that cord she was saved. Jesus hung on the bloody cross, securing forgiveness for the vilest sinner. He underscored that when he lovingly dealt with the woman taken in adultery.
  • Jesus is a friend of sinners. His great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandmother was a converted prostitute. 

And what more shall I say?

GIDEON-faith to blow the trumpetFor time would fail me to tell of Gideon,

  • Gideon brought a solitary action against the adversary
  • He built an altar, and himself offered sacrifice, as though he were a priest.
  • The altar was named Jehovah-Shalom — the Lord of Peace.
  • His own people cried out against his worthy action.
  • A sign, a prophecy, of dew — first on the fleece, the ground being dry — and then on the ground, the fleece being dry: thus is foreshadowed the work of the Holy Spirit, first in Israel and later more fully among the Gentiles.
  • Those who were gathered unto him, by the sound of the trumpet, were reduced to a faithful remnant, being separated to him by water, and the expression of their abhorrence of all false worship. Those who lapped like dogs foreshadowed Gentiles, faithful to their leader.
  • The destruction of the Midianite host prefigures the greater destruction of the Last Day oppressor, in the same plain of Jezreel.
  • A victory without weapons for the Lord’s people who “look on me and do likewise”.
  • These enemies meet their end at the very place which means an entering into inheritance for the people of God (Jdg 8:17,18).
  • Gideon’s words: “The Lord shall rule over you” — it is the Kingdom!
  • Seventy sons correspond in number with the nations of the world. (Gen 10 lists 70 names.)

barak_debBarak,

  • Barak the judge displays a timid and cowardly spirit,
  • Jesus is meek and lowly of spirit.
  • Barak would not battle without Deborah.
  • Jesus could do noting apart from His Father, and battled Satan in the power of the Holy Spirit.
  • The message of the Cross is that the weak and lowly triumph over the strong and arrogant devil.
  • His name means “lightning flash[1].”
    • For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. Luke 17:24
    • From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God, Revelation 4:5

Samson destroys templeSamson,

Everything about Samson and Jesus Christ is connected with three things: a promise, a sacrifice, and a name.

A PROMISE

  • Samson was born, lived and died according to the merciful promise and purpose of God to save his people (Jud. 13:5).
    Judges 13:5  “For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.”

A NAME

  • Everything about this man was related to and for the glory of the name by which the Angel of the LORD revealed himself to Manoah and his wife (Jud. 13:18).
    Judges 13:18  “And the angel of the LORD said to him, “Why do you ask my name, seeing it is wonderful?”
  • Jesus is Wonderful (Isaiah 9:6)
    • It is his name which is the name of salvation (Acts 4:12).
    • It is in his name that we are accepted of God and forgiven (Eph. 4:32; Rom. 12:1-3; 1 Pet. 2:5).

A SACRIFICE

  • Everything Samson was and did for Israel was connected with, arose from, and pointed to a sacrifice (Jud. 13:19-21).
  • Judges 13:19-21  “So Manoah took a kid with a meat offering, and offered it upon a rock unto the LORD: and the angel did wondrously; and Manoah and his wife looked on. 20 For it came to pass, when the flame went up toward heaven from off the altar, that the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame of the altar. And Manoah and his wife looked on it, and fell on their faces to the ground. 21 But the angel of the LORD did no more appear to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was an angel of the LORD.”

His Love Choices

  • He loved harlots
  • Jesus loved publicans and harlots, the sick and needy

Jephthah,

  • Name means “He will open” (Jesus is the Way)
  • Mighty man of valor (Jesus is our Victory)
  • Born of a harlot (Jesus was born of one accused of adultery)
  • Rejected by the leadership because of his birth (Jesus was rejected becasue he was from Nazareth)

of David and Samuel and the prophets— who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection.

What does a life of Faith do for You?

1.  Spiritual Fullness in Christ.

Christ is the very definition of faith. Faith is built upon the qualities and characteristics of Jesus Christ. Take Jesus away and there is no faith.

walking-after-the-spirit-the-life-of-sonship2.  Sonship with Jesus Christ.

By Faith, TODAY, you can:

  • Conquer the world
  • Grow Justice
  • Live in Promises
  • Stop the accusations of Satan
  • Quench his fiery arrows
  • Win in battle by the Sword of the Word
  • Become strong in your weakness
  • Become mighty sons of God
  • Put the enemy to flight

Sonship comes on the shoulders of those who have suffered for Christ

Christian Martyrs in Neros GardenSome were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, and they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— of whom the world was not worthy— wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

No matter what you may endure, Jesus Christ is always with you in your sufferings. His faith will sustain you in your weakness. His faith will empower you to reach the finish line.

And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect. Hebrews 11:20-40

Martyrs_Last_Prayer (2)We are Sons of God, and those who have suffered before us share with us in our Savior, our brother, Jesus Christ.

What Does This Mean to You

  • You are not alone if you are living in Christ by Faith
  • His promises are sure, no matter the struggles you face.
  • This life is but preparation for Life with Him
  • As His Son or Daughter, “Be strong in the Lord and in the Power of His Mighty!” Your faith is in Him and His promises.
  • You are important for your faith joins you with faithful martyrs of the past.

We share faith with those who never received the Promise

nero murdered christian martyrs“In the year 64 A.D. during the reign of Nero, fire broke out in Rome. For six days and nights the fire burned. The greater part of the city was laid in ashes. The rumor got around that Nero himself had caused the city to be set on fire. This aroused great hatred in the people of Rome against the emperor. To turn this hatred away from himself, Nero accused the Christians of having set fire to Rome. The accusation certainly was not true, but large numbers of Christians were arrested and a terrible persecution followed. Many Christians were even crucified. Some were sewn up in the skins of wild beasts; then big dogs were let loose upon them, and they were torn to pieces. Women were tied to mad bulls and dragged to death. After nightfall Christians were burned at the stake in Nero’s garden (human lamp stands!). The Roman people who hated the Christians were free to come into the garden, and Nero drove around in his chariot wickedly enjoying the horrible scene” (The Church in History, by B.K. Kuiper, p.8).


[1] Warren Baker and Eugene Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: ” ‏בָּרָק‎”.


Crazy Faith of Abraham (1)“Here’s all you have to know about men and women: women are crazy, men are stupid. And the main reason women are crazy is that men are stupid.” ― George Carlin, When Will Jesus Bring The Pork Chops?

I am writing a new Christian Song and I am thinking it will be better sung in a Country Western format. I would hope Carrie Underwood would sing it, but it will probably by Taylor Swift. “Call me Christian, but don’t call me crazy.” The first line goes like this: 

I don’t mind you callin’ me a Christian. Christians can still be cool like a sixpack on a hot day in June. But don’t you ever call me crazy, cuz that would make me out to be a fool. Oh I don’t ever want to be called crazy, cuz I am nobody’s fool….

Crazy Faith of Abraham (4)We’ll you are thinking I’m the crazy one, but this is also the title of the message this morning. I am preaching on Hebrews 11:8-17, and in one of those rare moments when I stepped back and took a look at what was really happening in those verses, I just had to stop and say, man they were crazy! And then I asked, would I have done that? Would I have done any of that? No Way! Call me Christian, but never, ever would I be that crazy!

But before we explore this different angle of Hebrews 11, I want to take you back to the Garden of Eden.

Consider this question:

  • When did Adam and Eve begin to die?”
  • “What power does Satan have over us?”
  • “How does Satan work his power in this world?”

Hebrews 2:14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,

Doubt leads to deathYou may not see it at this moment, but hopefully it will hit you like a ton of bricks before you leave. Satan works his power of death in your life when he gets you to doubting God’s promises. Did you hear that? When you doubt God’s promises, when you doubt Christ’s presence, when you doubt Christ’s love and provision for your life, you are playing in to Satan’s power.

Coma Christians 

Bottom line, if you are not crazy when it comes to believing God’s Word, you are a “Coma Christian.”

I always think of myself as “pragmatic”. Here’s a good definition:

Dealing with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical considerations

Well, God told me that is not acceptable to him, because I put “sensibility” before Him. That is not faith. Faith is not sensible! We will see that in a moment. So today, I am preaching at all you  “Pragmatic Christian” types today, but I want you to know, I am one of you.

Before we jump into Hebrews, I want you to read as foundation Romans 9:6-8:

But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. Romans 9:6-8

Not everyone who claims to be a Christian is a born again child of God. Just as Paul writes that not all of Abrahams’ children were children of God (belong to Israel). Children of the flesh are not the children of God. The children of God are all crazy because they believe the promise of God! (My transliteration)

Faith vs. Flesh

When it comes to being a child of God, being accepted by God, only one thing works! FAITH! Only one thing allows you to believe Him and His promises to you, FAITH! And Faith can never be pragmatic. Faith can never be sensible.

Was it sensible to stay in the boat? Faith isn’t sensible because it transcends our fleshly senses to bring Heavenly Truth to reality here on earth! Christ lives! He lives in me! Chief of sinners though I am, He lives in me!

Faith doesn’t happen because you wish or plan it!

Faith is not like losing weight. You can’t follow this, eat that, exercise this and presto, you have faith. Faith doesn’t work according to a formula for your benefit. It doesn’t make you a superior Christian. Faith is for God and His promises! Faith is toward God and His promises! Faith always answers a call of God because you want to see Him! Then faith grows as you believe His Word! And yes, faith must be crazy from the world’s point of view!

Think back on your life. How did you come to faith in Christ? Did you feel all emotional and believe? How did that work out for you? Did your belief wax and wane depending upon what you were going through? Was there a time in your life where the pressures of life got in the way of your faith in Christ? Was there something that happened that made you stop and examine where your were with Him? Was there some decision or choice you had to make? What was the outcome of your decision?

For some reason, I have had a lot of trips and falls

trip and fallFor me, my faith grows more when things go wrong; when I am forced from my comfort zone. I have had several smack-down times in my life where I had to choose who I was going to listen to, who I was going to believe. There have been times where I made the wrong choice, but then God kept calling me. I am going though one of those times even now.

Faith Comes as We Listen and Obey

I learned that for faith to grow, I must stop and listen to God, and then re-confess my belief in His promises to me!

I have a passion to see Christians experience the Life that God wants us to have by CRAZY faith! Crazy Faith brought salvation to Abraham!

Regrets Feed Doubt

Regrets Feed DoubtI have visited with Christians who seem to have this weight of regret over their life. Decisions they made, wrong things they did, and after 10, 20 30 years of being a church goer, they feel as if they are further away from God than when they first felt that tingle of God’s work in their life.

I think we are looking at God the wrong way. Instead of letting our regrets drown out his voice and presence, we should take some time to visit with God about those regrets. We should really take time to see how He can use those regrets to grow our faith in Him. He speaks to us and affirms His promises even in the midst of our mistakes!

Abraham

Abraham Believed God and was strong in faithAbraham wasn’t anyone special. He wasn’t a privileged blue blood. God spoke to Him and made a simple request. I want you to go to a new land. Abraham wasn’t exactly a picture of strong faith either. He had his doubts. He didn’t go to the land at first, but went half way. Even when he got to the land, there were two times when he lied about Sara being his wife, because he did not trust God to protect him from those who would murder him to take her.

Even Sara had a problem trusting God. She got tired of waiting for a child, so she concocted a scheme to have children with Hagar her handmaid. In effect she whored her handmaid to her husband to have children. Abraham, the great man of faith(?) went along with her plan.

All the while, God kept calling, and Abraham made choices, choices of doubt or belief, or death or life!

Perhaps you have struggled as I have at times. We make wrong choices. We figure God has forgotten us, so we have to rely on our own self to get out of trouble. What does God do? I don’t know about your situation, but God keeps calling me, keeps assuring me. And as long as I don’t selfishly wallow in my regrets, my faith grows.

What are some things we can learn from Abraham and Sarah? Let’s look at Hebrews and discover how our faith can grow, and not be swallowed by regrets.

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore. These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. 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 for them a city. By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back. Hebrews 11:8-19

Crazy Faith of Abraham (3)Back to my Song, “Call me Christian, but never call me crazy!” If this song title describes you (because you never would have been as crazy as Abraham), then you are a “Pragmatic Christian.” You view Abraham and Sarah through practical and skeptical eyes. You call their response to God’s Word “CRAZY!”

 The Pragmatic, “obedience for the sake of obedience” approach to Christianity doesn’t work if you are counting on reaching Heaven. That is a fleshly approach to God. His word says that no one can please God in the flesh. The only way to please God is BY FAITH!

By  Faith

By Faith is Πίστει. We see this phrase over and over in Hebrews 11.

  • Hebrews 11:3 N-DFS
    • NAS: By faith we understand that the worlds
  • Hebrews 11:4 N-DFS
    • KJV: By faith Abel offered
  • Hebrews 11:5 N-DFS
    • KJV: By faith Enoch was translated
  • Hebrews 11:7 N-DFS
    • KJV: By faith Noah, being warned of God
  • Hebrews 11:8 N-DFS
    • KJV: By faith Abraham, when he was called
  • Hebrews 11:9 N-DFS
    • KJV: By faith he sojourned in
  • Hebrews 11:11 N-DFS
    • NAS: By faith even Sarah
  • Hebrews 11:17 N-DFS
    • KJV: By faith Abraham, when he was tried,

Responding to God is not simply a matter of doing this or that. He doesn’t want robotic service. He has that in the angels. He wants people to respond to Him because they realize who He is. This is what Hebrews 11:6 is all about. You will never, never be accepted in God’s presence simply because you did this or that, or because you never did this or that. The Word says without Faith it is impossible to please (or be accepted) by God.

by-faith-we-grow-to-sonshipFaith is not an abstract force that you either have or don’t have. Faith is simply seeing God. Faith is simply having your hopes in God. It is a heart thing. Faith allows the almighty God to capture your heart.

Abraham obeyed, not because he wanted to be a good boy, or because he feared Divine lightning bolts. He obeyed because by faith he saw God and that allowed God to capture his heart. It wasn’t his brain, because God doesn’t make much sense to “intellectuals”. God wants your heart. He is all about passion! His heart is full of compassion, and He needs your heart in order to reveal Himself to you.

  • My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe (delight in) my ways. Proverbs 23:26
  • You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. Deuteronomy 6:5
  • My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. Proverbs 2:1-5

Abraham Believed and His Faith Grew even in the tough times, even in the “regret” moments!

Abraham made a decision to give this invisible God his heart.

Crazy Faith of Abraham (2)Love for God Results in Crazy Obedience

It did not make sense to leave the culture of Hur and go to live among the devilish people of Canaan. It was not the intelligent thing to do, nor was it a safe thing to do. But Abraham did it anyway, because He had seen this almighty God, and his heart was captured because of faith.

  • By Faith he obeyed God’s call.

Faith initiates a desire to follow God, and to listen to what he directs. Faith makes God’s Word substantial, and worth obeying.

  • By Faith he went to live.

Faith enables to settle down in the presence of this Holy God. It empowers His friendship with your life, even though you make mistakes and stumble along the way. Faith brings your heart and passion into a comfortable relationship with God.

  • By faith you endure, even though the promise is not received.

“These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar”

Remember that faith empowers you to see the truth and reality of God! Even if all your hopes aren’t realized in this life, your faith sees them as true in the life to come!

  • Faith will result in being a stranger to those who walk by sight.

“having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.”

Once your heart is captured by God, you will never be satisfied with the comforts of this world. You have seen the glory, and it becomes all-important to you.

What Happens when you Make a Decision to Have Crazy Faith?

1.  We give birth

Crazy will give birth to more crazies! God is always growing and abounding. Just look at our expanding Universe. It is huge, yet God holds it in His hand. You start believing in His power and promises, and you will give birth!

By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. Hebrews 11:11

For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening. 1 Peter 3:5-6

2.  God stakes His Reputation in your life

“Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God,”

When you believe God’s Promises even when everyone else thinks you are crazy, He says My Name is on you!

3. We see our Home

But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. For he has prepared for them a city. Hebrews 11:16

  • You see it in the storm
  • You see it through the tears.

You don’t need to go there to see it, for you already have it in your heart!


Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. John 20:1

Mary-at-empty-tomb

Mary was astonished to see the stone rolled away. She had come expecting to find the corpse of Jesus, and now she was disappointed. Who had taken him away? What cruel prank was this? She told the disciples, and Peter and John were bold enough to risk capture by going to the tomb. They looked closer, but returned home, although John recorded that what he saw made him believe something else had occurred.

Mary was still bewildered, and stood outside the tomb sobbing and wailing uncontrollably. Where had they taken his body? She saw someone standing there, and peering closely, concluded it was just a laborer, probably the gardener. Had her faculties of sight altered? Was her sight obscured by all her tears?

No, Jesus had changed, for He had been resurrected! The means of knowing Jesus had changed as well! Only through Him speaking to her did Mary know Him, and so we find the truth of divine revelation. We can search for God all we want, but we will never, never find Him if we are seeking to know Him in the flesh. When Mary rushed to hug Jesus, He said, “do not touch me.” He had truly changed, and there was to be a new way of knowing Him, a way which transcends the senses, a way which transforms our lives.

The inner clarity of recognition that came to Mary when she heard Him call her name, she could not explain in human terms. She just knew, and that was enough. And so it is with our knowing Jesus the Christ. You can watch all the movies and read all the stories about Jesus, but that is all He will be to you, a fanciful story or amazing leader. Your life will be the same. You can never truly know Jesus with your physical senses. But when Jesus speaks to your heart, and you willingly respond to Him as Lord, your life will be changed! There will be no mistake about it! The resurrection will be no magical story, for it will be the reality of your life! This is what Paul said when he proclaimed, “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection.”

mary weeping outside tombMary wept. Seeking a corpse, she mistook Jesus for a common person. Many of us mistake Jesus as someone common, not the life-changing Son of God that He actually is. We all have things that we cry over, struggle with or feel stressed about. We may reach a deadlock, a dead-end, and feel as if there is no possible way out. Only when we reach the end of our fleshly strength will we be ready to listen to His voice. When you realize that you need God, need to know His resurrection power, be quiet, for you are likely to hear Him calling you. You can search for Him with all your might, but He can never be found in the strength of your flesh. He has changed! He has risen. He is known only in the Spirit now, and your flesh wars with the Spirit.

Christ “after the flesh” was crucified. Knowing Him in that way results in a corpse vainly searching for another corpse. Mary searched in her flesh and knew not the Resurrected Christ. When her tears were drained, and she was at the end of herself, she was ready to hear His voice. Are you still relying on your own strength and abilities? Are you seeking to know Jesus after the flesh? Give it up, lay aside who you think He is, humble yourself before Him, and ask to hear His voice. Only when you give up on the flesh is the Spirit ready to take over. And the Spirit delights in making Jesus Christ known to your heart!