A Better Thing for Us
20 October 2019 AM – Hebrews 11:30-40 – Heb19 – Scott Childs

Introduction: The entire eleventh chapter of Hebrews contains examples of men and women who had faith in God. By their faith in God, they pleased God. By their faith, they received many blessings from God. However, in the last verses of the chapter the writer finally reveals to us his primary reason for this historical review. His intent was far more than just a reminder. It was to call our attention to a greater promise which none of these heroes of faith received; that is the promise of the coming Messiah. Christ the Messiah came after they all died. Now Christ HAS come and like those heroes of the faith, we ought to place our confident faith in Him for eternal salvation. Christ is God’s “better thing for us.”

Transition: In these verses, God gives three additional motivations to develop greater faith in God.

The first motivation is …

1.        More Examples of Faith, v.30-32
a.         The first example is of conquering Jericho
1)         Israel had faith to obey God. They marched around Jericho six days without speaking. On the seventh day, they marched around the city seven times and then at God’s command, they shouted and Jericho’s walls fell flat.
2)         Rahab (a Canaanite in Jericho) had faith in Jehovah. She risked her life to protect the Israelite spies. She placed her faith in Jehovah and God saved her physical life as well as her spiritual life.
b.         The remaining examples are of men
1)         Gideon – By faith, his army of 300 defeated a huge army.
2)         Barak – By faith, he led Israel’s army to victory though he was very fearful
3)         Samson – Samson had many problems, but when he obeyed and depended on God, God gave his strength to defeat Israel’s enemies.
4)         Jephthah – he asked God for victory as he led Israel’s army, and God answered his prayer.
5)         David – God protected him for years from King Saul who hated him.
6)         Samuel – he had faith to preach truth to the apostate nation of Israel.
7)         The prophets – Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and a host of others.
O  These people were no different from you and me. They had weaknesses and fears. Yet their faith in God made them victorious. If we will have faith in God, He will give us victory over our troubles and fears as well.

The second motivation is …

2.        More Evidences of Faith, v.33-38
In this section, God highlights for us many of the amazing things He did for His people when they had faith in Him.

a.         By faith God met their needs, v.33
1)         Who through faith subdued kingdoms (they had victory over mighty nations that rose up against their feeble armies).
2)         Wrought righteousness (they did what was right in God’s sight even when it seemed illogical and difficult).
3)         Obtained promises (they received various promises that God gave them because they acted by faith).
O  If we will have faith, God will give us victories over strong temptations. He will enable us to do what is right. He will fulfil the promises He has given us in His Word. Have faith! God will meet your needs.

b.         By faith many received God’s protection, v.33-35
1)         Stopped the mouths of lions – Daniel
2)         Quenched the violence of fire – Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego
3)         Escaped the edge of the sword – Elijah from Jezebel
4)         Out of weakness were made strong – Samson
5)         Waxed valiant in fight – Barak
6)         Turned to flight the armies of the aliens – Gideon
7)         Women received their dead raised to life again – widow at Zarephath, Shunammite woman
O  We must remember that these Bible characters were people just like us. God mightily protected. God has not changed. He has not lost His power. He is able to protect us as well. We must have faith!

c.          By faith many endured hardships, v.36-38
1)         And others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:
2)         And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment – Jeremiah
3)         They were stoned – Zechariah the son of Jehoiada
4)         They were sawn asunder – Tradition says Isaiah
5)         Were tempted – tortured to renounce their faith, Jeremiah (Jer 20:2)
6)         Were slain with the sword – Urijah by Jehoiakim (Jer 26:23)
7)         They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) Perhaps when Jezebel hunted God’s prophets.
8)         They wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. During the time of the Judges. They had no homes. They were hunted like wild animals.
O  Faith is not just about receiving God’s promises. We also need faith to suffer. It takes faith to believe that God is in control when we are uncomfortable or in pain. During the dark ages, millions of faithful believers died at the hands of persecutors who tortured them, beat them, burned them at the stake, drowned them, fed them to wild beasts, or let them die in filthy prisons. That takes faith that God makes no mistakes. We complain if our food is cold or our Internet is slow. Someone once said, “A faith that is not worth dying for is not worth living for.” How real is my faith and yours?

The third motivation is …

3.        More Explanation of Faith, v.39-40
a.         These all obtained a good report
1)         Because of their great faith in God, He gave them a good report or good witness. They were truly heroes of the faith.
2)         In the world’s eyes, these heroes of the faith were losers, especially those who suffered for their faith. God sees things from an opposite perspective. (Revelation 2:10) “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”
3)         God honoured these heroes of the faith with a good report, yet they did not receive the ultimate promise of the coming Messiah.
b.         God has provided something better for us.
1)         We have the privilege of living AFTER the Messiah came. He has already provided salvation for all who will believe on Him. By faith, we can KNOW that God has forgiven our sins and has given us eternal life in heaven.
2)         Note what Jesus told His disciples. (Luke 10:23-24) “And he turned him unto his disciples, and said privately, Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see: For I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.”
3)         The Messiah has come. Salvation through faith in Christ is available to all who will repent and believe. (Acts 3:19) “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out …” (Acts 16:31) “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”
Conclusion: Our text has given us three additional motivations for faith in God. God wants you to have faith in Him. The challenge of this message is twofold. 1) God wants you to have faith in Christ’s payment for your sin that He might forgive you and save you from hell. 2) God wants you to have faith to serve Him; faith for victory over evil; faith for courage in danger; and faith to endure whatever difficulties He allows in your life. Faith is acting upon trusted information. The better you know God, the stronger your faith in Him will become. May our faith increase!

Song: Faith is the Victory, 402