Gospel Faith in the Old Testament: Enoch

Gospel Faith in the Old Testament: Hebrews 11:5-6
Enoch, Walking with God

We have been studying what faith looks like as examples of how we are to live today. Hebrews 11 gives us some amazing examples of Gospel faith.

It’s first vital to understand that from Abel to you and I and to the last person standing at the coming of the Lord it is by faith alone that man is reconciled to Father by Son and sealed as Father’s child by Spirit.

It is by faith alone! Jesus plus anything ruins everything.

But we have seen that faith is not just a mind trick in which we become convinced of the right facts about who Father, Son and Spirit is. The demons believe and tremble James says.

Gospel faith is the “assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

Gospel faith is the internal action of the soul that hopes in the reality of the Gospel because of the work of the Gospel on the soul that works its way out into tangible, practical actions.

Faith without works is dead.

So, in order to live lives today in Rome, GA or Northwest, GA that hopes in the Gospel and works itself out into tangible and practical actions we have undertaken to look at the examples of Gospel faith given to us in Hebrews 11.

We’ve seen the nature of faith, the trust that Father, Son and Spirit have created ex nihilo (not covered in this series but very necessary), and we’ve looked at Abel’s faith in worship.

Today, we take a look at Enoch.

Although there is very little written about Enoch, the little that is written is packed with implications that we won’t have time to sound out today. You will have to go away and “walk” with the Lord yourself and taste those implications yourself and find the Lord better than life.

“By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” (Hebrews 11:5-6 ESV)

When Enoch had lived 65 years, he fathered Methuselah. Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years. Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him. (Genesis 5:21-24 ESV)

It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage. But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Jude 1:14-17 ESV)

Here is the one definitive truth that can be said about Enoch: Enoch walked with Father.

Hebrew word for walk – Yithallek – to traverse. to walk about.

The Greek word for walk – “Peripateo” to live or behave in a customary manner, with possible focus upon continuity (steadiness, endurance, permanence, stability) of action—‘to live, to behave, to go about doing.’

Of the 184 times “walk” shows up in Scripture the great majority of them are speaking of not going from point “a” on a map to point “b”. The majority of them speak of the idea of behaving in the manner customary for man and God, living or behaving in manner of man and God, to go about doing in the manner of man and God.

So, here is the great lesson from the life of Enoch exhibiting Gospel faith in the Old Testament:

1. Walk with Father
A. The gospel makes walking with Father a reality to be had

B. Learn to practice the presence of Father, through the Son by the Spirit (Radical Life)
1. Communion with God (the Lord is always near, so speak with him)
a. Silence
There he came to a cave and lodged in it. And behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He said, “I have been very jealous for the LORD, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.”

And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
(1 Kings 19:9-13 ESV)

b. Solitude
c. Prayer
d. Fasting
e. Bible Study
f. Repentance
g. Corporate Worship / Life as Worship

2. Community (the Lord is the one bonding people together, so enjoy him in building
relationships)
a. Community is imitation of the Trinity (interdependence)
1. You need other people / other people need you
2. Sanctification happens in community
3. Geographical kinship
4. Professional kinship
5. Recreation kinship
6. Familial kinship

3. Collision with Culture (the Lord is the one moving the work forward, so join him)
a. Gospel communication with those who need transformation is the most
vital ministry to TRCC and any church
1. Very little is said in the New Testament about the specific methods
of discipleship people used with new Christians. It does, however,
focus on the chief ministry of the church, evangelism.

C. Discover and practice the good works prepared by Father for you to “walk” in
I’m taking this point and the thoughts for this point not from a strict exegesis of a text but from a perspective of creation in which Father made man in his image and each man unique with a purpose to subdue created order, serve each other and glorify God, which I believe, is the basis for understanding “spiritual gifts”. These gifts are created abilities to serve 1. Father’s mission 2. Christians (church) 3. Make the creature happy.
1. Ephesians 2:10
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10 ESV)

2. Works are done through gifts given by Father for
a. What do you do that serves the mission?
b. What do you do that serves the church (other Christians)?
c. What brings you great happiness?

D. Be happy in the Triune God of all creation
1. The gospel transforms
2. We learn, through sanctification, to have fellowship with Father, Son, Spirit
3. We walk in Father’s good works
4. We are happy in the Lord

I believe there is a reason people seek after happiness. People seek after happiness. Think about this for a minute. Everything we do we do because we find some benefit in it to our happiness not our unhappiness, right?

If we are the slightest “down” we look for something to help us get back to a state of “happy”. We do what we perceive to be of greater happiness to us. I believe that is because we were made to glory in the Lord (Isaiah 43:7). We were made to delight ourselves in the Lord (Psalm 37:4) and have him put his desires in our very souls.

The problem is that the fall has redirected our happiness toward the source of Adam and Eve’s happiness at the tree, themselves, the very essence of idolatry. Most idols are cheap projections of a person or group of people’s desires.

Think this through. Most every decision we make is for a greater degree of happiness and every decision we make for our happiness that centers on either an object or another person leaves us feeling empty as if it were a waste of time.

That’s because it is empty and a waste of time. Happiness (or what Scripture calls our delight in the Lord) was never intended to be had apart from the Lord. We were made to be happy in Father, Son and Spirit and to enjoy all of creation in subduing it to the glory of the Lord. So, when we seek happiness in the creation first rather than the creator, then we have reversed the order, which is the essence of idolatry, and also missed the mark of happiness. We then find ourselves unhappy and needing another fix to get us out of the pit, thus people continue to incur debt as though a new “play pretty” will fix the burden.

We can only enjoy and delight in and be happy in creation as we enjoy it through Father for Father and for our happiness.

1. I am to be happy in my wife, but not before I’m happy in Father
a. If I’m happy in another person before I’m happy in Father I have an idol and I destroy
myself and the object of my affection by abusing them and myself because I’m using
them rather than enjoying them to their fulfillment and Father’s glory. So then if they
mess up then I have to seek my own protection because it’s about me first not Father’s
glory in them or their happiness in the Lord, so I can easily kick them to the curb and
move on to my next idol.
1. If I am happy in the Lord, then I seek Father’s glory which is my wife’s good first
2. If she is happy in the Lord, then she seeks Father’s glory in me which is my good first

2. I am to be happy in my job, but not before I’m happy in Father
a. If I’m happy in my job before I’m happy in Father I have an idol and I destroy myself
and the vocation by abusing it, my employer and myself because I’m using them rather
than enjoying them to their fulfillment and Father’s glory (this is why Paul appealed to
slaves to obey their masters in the Lord; there were bigger issues than their freedom; this
does not mean that Father approves of slavery, he does not, but there were bigger issues
than their freedom, namely his glory and their redemption from Satan back to himself)
1. If I’m happy in the Lord, then I seek Father’s glory and my job’s good first

3. I am to be happy in my recreation, but not before I’m happy in Father

4. I am to be happy in my children, but not before I’m happy in Father

Scripture Alone, by Flame

I’m totally digging the movement of great music coming from artists like Lecrae, Tedashii, Tripp Lee and Flame and a host of other gifted African American men who love the Gospel and are leading the way in making amazing music that is masculine and righteous. Give this song by Flame from his new album, The 6th, a whirl. It’s called Scripture Alone and will be a nice complement to  the message from this past Sunday at TRCC. Enjoy!!

He is alive!!

Resurrection Sunday

Resurrection: By faith we believe and our faith is not a blind leap but a reasonable conclusion based on the evidence.

Mission: My mission is to, by the Spirit and thinking and word, bolster and encourage your faith in the Triune God of the universe and thereby bring peace to your mind and joy to your heart.

Evidence does not nullify faith. Evidence encourages and builds faith.

Faith is not a blind acceptance of something irrational.

Faith is the assurance of things hoped for the conviction of things not seen.

We are assured of the reality of what we have believed with the evidence we have received and that works itself out in the conviction of the things that are unseen.

I am really a Christian. I really believe and I’m really wanting to follow Jesus.

Christianity is not a “religion” of choice or convenience for me.

I was dead and he made me alive when I was trying go the opposite direction.

I was on the verge of walking away from the faith because of the intellectual challenge brought by unbelieving liberal “scholarship” and in a supernatural moment the Spirit sent by the resurrected Christ rescued me.

The growth of my faith through the Spirit and his Word has helped me to understand that, again, faith is not a blind acceptance of something irrational. The faith given me by the Triune God of the universe is built firmly on reality. And reality has not left itself without witness.

As a result of the fall all of mankind is shut off from face to face fellowship with Father. We are left with the witness of Scripture.

Even though many of us have been brought to life through the Gospel, and we believe, there are moments when we wonder if we have believed in vain or if this is really real or is Christianity man’s opium to deal with the pain of a meaningless existence.

If Jesus is risen, then he is the way, the truth and the life.

If Jesus is risen then he is the only God and all other “religions” are a mirage of reality.

If Jesus is risen then my doubt and skepticism are irrational.

If Jesus is risen then my rebellion and sin have been neutralized in regard to judgment.

If Jesus is risen then hardships and hurts and scars have great significance and are not wasted.

If Jesus is risen we have great hope to persevere because he is alive  and coming again!

How can we bolster your faith today? How can we use the intellect and reason to stand under and firm up our trust in Jesus?

Let’s give it a whirl.

Often, the Enemy’s first and most successful attack comes in questioning what Father has said. “Did God say?”. “Is that really true?”. “That can’t be right.”.

Scripture is often the source of attack because Scripture witnesses to who Father is explicitly and tells us how to know Father and how to take great delight in Father and how Father takes delight in us.

The Scriptures tell us that Jesus was crucified, buried and rose on the third day (Matthew 27:64; Mark 16; Luke 24:46; John 20; Acts 10:40

Is Scripture reliable? Can you let yourself rest on the testimony of Scripture.

Transmission of Scripture

1. Jewish Scribes

A. Meticulous copying

1. Line and word counts for accuracy

B. Dead Sea Scrolls (1947)

“Even though the two copies of Isaiah discovered in Qumran Cave 1 near the Dead Sea in 1947 were a thousand years earlier than the oldest dated manuscript previously known (A.D. 980), they proved to be word for word identical with our standard Hebrew bible in more than 95 percent of the text. The 5 percent of variation consisted chiefly of obvious slips of the pen and variations in spelling.”[1]

Archaeological Record

1. Ebla Tablets

A. Weakens the Documentary Hypothesis (says Moses could not have written the Pentateuch)

B. Julius Welhousen says that Language had not “evolved” enough for Moses to have been able

to write such a complicated work using the various names of God used in each book. So,

Welhousen theorizes that different authors wrote the books with each one emphasizing a different

name for God.

C. The Ebla Tablets were discovered at Telmardikh (modern Syria) and were part of a large

library.

D. The Ebla Tablets are 1,000 years prior to Moses.

New Testament

1. Objection 1: Oral tradition is unreliable

A. Oral tradition was held in highest regard

B. Jewish children were taught to remember oral material accurately

C. Oral tradition was handed down collectively to the entire community

D. Exodus 24:4; Joshua 24:26; 1 Samuel 10:25; Isaiah 8:1; 1 Corinthians 14:37; Revelation 1:19

1. These passages record that the words of the Lord were written down

2. Objection 2: Scripture is written by men

However, this is not what Scripture claims for itself.

A. “Biblical inspiration my be defined as God’s superintending of the human authors so that, using

their own individual personalities – and even their writing styles – they composed and recorded

without error his revelation to humankind in the words of the original autographs.”[2]

B. 2 Peter 1:21; 1 Corinthians 2:13

For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:21 ESV)

And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. (1 Corinthians 2:13 ESV)

3. Objection 3: Writers were biased

A. 1 John 1:1

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— (1 John 1:1 ESV)

B. Consider some reasonable thinking:

1. The apostles had little to gain and almost everything to lose.

2. New Testament writers gave up their lives in defense of what they saw

3. New Testament authors gave embarrassing details about themselves:

a. Jewish folks unfaithfulness to God

b. Peter denying Jesus 3 times

c. Peter being addressed as “Satan” by the Lord

d. The disciples scattering when Jesus was arrested

e. Thomas’ doubt about the resurrection

4. Objection 4: Too much time has passed

A. The time between two very important events is extremely short. What two events? 1. The

writing of the original manuscript 2. The copying of the oldest existing manuscript

1. Why this is important: The shorter the time the more reliable a text is considered

a. Ancient classics have an overage of over 1,000 years between these two

events.

b. A 700 year gap is considered good among works of antiquity

2. John Ryland’s Manuscript (oldest copy of the New Testament)

a. Contains fragments from John (18:31-33, 37-38)

b. Dates approximately A.D. 117-138

3. Bodmer Papyri

a. Contains most of the Gospels of Luke and John

b. Dates approximately A.D. 200

4. Chester Beatty Papyri

a. Contains almost all the New Testament (including large portions of the

Gospels)

b. Dates approximately A.D. 250

5. Codex Sinaiticus (British Museum)

a. Contains the entire NT and parts of the OT

b. Dates approximately A.D. 340

6. Codex Vaticanus (Vatican Library)

a. Contains most of the bible

b. Dates approximately A.D. 325-350

7. Codex Alexandrinus (British Museum)

a. Contains most of the bible

b. Dates approximately A.D. 450

8. Codex Bezae (Cambridge University Library)

a. Contains parts of the NT and most of the Gospels written in Greek and

Latin

B. Non-Christian Accounts

1. Tacitus (A.D. 55-120): Roman Historian: Annals

2. Suetonius (A.D. 120): Roman Historian: Life of Claudius

3. Josephus (A.D. 37-97): Jewish Historian: Antiquities

“Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure.  He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles.  He was the Christ, and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him.  And the tribe of Christians so named from him are not extinct at this day.” (Antiquities, XVIII, 33)

4. Pliny the Younger (A.D. 112): Roman Governor: Epistles X

5. Jewish Talmud (Commentary on Jewish law, completed A.D. 500)

6. Lucian (second century A.D.): Greek satirist

5. There was just not enough time for legends to develop and be recorded between the ministry of Jesus and the writing of the first books of the New Testament

A. The Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke/Acts and John) – written in the early 50’s and 60’s

B. None of these works mention very noteworthy events between A.D. 60 and 70

1. Persecution of Christians instigated by Nero (mid 60’s)

2. The martyrdom of James (brother of Jesus), Peter and Paul (62-66)

3. The fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple under Roman General

Titus (70)

6. Scripture records eyewitness accounts of historical events

A. Luke 1:1-4

Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught. (Luke 1:1-4 ESV)

B. John 19:35; John 20:30-31

He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth—that you also may believe. (John 19:35 ESV)

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:30-31 ESV)

C. 1 Corinthians 15:3-8

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.

(1 Corinthians 15:3-8 ESV)

D. Galatians 1:11-12

For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

(Galatians 1:11-12 ESV)

E. 1 Peter 1:16

For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. (2 Peter 1:16 ESV)

F. 1 John 1:1-4

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. (1 John 1:1-4 ESV)

 

Conclusion

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: “I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.”  That is one thing we must not say.  A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher.  He would either be a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice.  Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a mad man or something worse.  You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God.  But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher.  He has not left that open to us.  He did not intend to.” [3]

1. He is alive, and your faith is not in vain!

2. You can attempt great and awesome pursuits of good because he lives and has all authority

3. We can make disciples of all nations because the General, the Risen King, is directing the work and we can’t loose

4. Take heart, King Jesus has overcome the world

5. He is risen!


[1] Archer Gleason, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, p. 19

[2] Ron Rhodes, Answering Objections of Atheists, Agnostics and Skeptics, p. 125.

[3] C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, p. 52

Gospel Faith in the Old Testament: Abel

Gospel Faith in the Old Testament: Abel

Hebrews 11:4

Faith and Worship

Hebrews shows the link between faith, hope, obedience and perseverance, illustrating that it (faith) is more than intellectual agreement with certain beliefs. God-honoring faith takes God at his word and lives expectantly and obediently in the present, waiting for him to fulfill his promises.

The actions of the Old Testament saints show that faith pleases God and that he rewards all who seek him.[1]

It is not long after the fall until the death and destruction chosen by Adam and Eve begin to play themselves out in the text of Scripture.

Obviously, Adam and Eve have taught their boys about the Lord and what they remember about the Lord and what they do to honor the Lord and worship him.

Cain and Abel then come to offer their worship.

What is interesting to notice is that as they are worshiping there is more in play than the external sacrifice and worship atmosphere.

The Lord rejects Cain’s offering and accepts Abel’s.

Abel’s faith was expressed when he offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. The difference was not in the substance of the sacrifices (Gn. 4:3–4), but in the attitude of the two brothers (as implied in Gn. 4:4–7).

Cain was told that his offering would be acceptable if he did what was right (cf. Pr. 15:8). But God testified to the righteousness of Abel and to the faith that motivated him when he spoke well of his offerings. Abel still speaks in the sense that he witnesses to the faith that pleases God. [2]

Genesis 4:3–7 and the rest of the Old Testament do not explain why Abel’s offering was more acceptable than Cain’s.

Hebrews offers the explanation: Abel showed faith. The fact that God accepted Abel’s sacrifice showed that he had an obedient attitude.

In some way Cain held back from God, perhaps in his heart.

Abel’s offering was an unrestrained response to Father, complete with unrestrained worship, which pleased God. John tells us that Cain’s works were evil, while those of Abel were righteous (1 John 3:12).

Even though Cain murdered Abel, the faith of Abel still spoke over the centuries. Even a violent death could not muzzle the message of faith.[3]

What was the source of the evil deeds of Cain?

Sin!

“Sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”

Adam and Eve, our parents, introduced sin/rebellion into the Lord’s image bearers and the created order and death reigned as the Lord said it would.

Sin/rebellion, however, are never satisfied. Sin has an insatiable appetite.

“Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied, and never satisfied are the eyes of man.” (Proverbs 27:20 ESV)

Sin/rebellion are always seeking their destructive ends.

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8 ESV)

The word “desire” is used in Genesis 4:7 and is the same word used in Genesis 3:16 when the Lord is speaking to Eve about the results of sin on her.

Her “desire” (to stretch out after) would be against here husband.

The word “for” there is properly translated as “for”.

Some of your translations may have a footnote saying “Or against” for clarifying purposes.

They don’t want you thinking the desire is a good thing. It’s not.

The reason is that this desire is not a holy desire. This desire is an evil desire. It’s sin. The sinful result of the fall for women is that they will be tempted to work against him, take his headship.

For Cain, sin/rebellion was crouching, waiting to pounce on him and its desire is “for” him.

Not in the since that sin is rooting for him to succeed. But sin’s desire is “for” Cain in the sense of it is working for him to disbelieve the Lord and thus be evil.

Satan uses the infection of sin/rebellion to steal, kill and destroy and we find that the first worship service we see after the fall is tainted with faithless evil.

That is a big statement.

Again, 1 John 3:12 “We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous.”

With saying nothing more in the text, we learn that Cain did the external act but that this external act was rotten from the inside out because it was done in sin and not in faith and the Lord knew it.

This shows that the first place faith is lived out is in the context of worship for that is what we were made for. We were made to glory in our creator and do all things to his great praise.

No wonder the first scene we see post fall is a worship service tainted with sin and evil.

No wonder so many people fight over peripheral issues about worship. It’s a scheme of the evil one.

So, how doe’s Abel faith in worship encourage us to Gospel faith in worship?

1. Faith Says: Worship is not bound in the external expression but in the internal faith that this is no waste of time

(the external expression does matter missiologically, but that is not the context of our talk)

The faith of Abel seems to be shown somewhat in the wording of the text that is different in describing what Abel brought compared to what Cain brought.

Abel brought the first of his herds. Cain brought some of the produce of the ground. Again, the point is not the substance of their sacrifices but the faith behind what they brought which works itself out into the quality of what they brought.

First of compared to some of.

It seems that faith in the Lord brings it’s best for the Lord.

I get this feel from the wording that Abel prepared to meet with the Lord because he wanted to and Cain hustled together some leftovers because he had to.

 

Hebrews 10:24-25 “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

 

There is something about the context of comfort in the west that makes worship a consumable commodity and not a necessary time of encouragement just to make it another day and not give up.

 

There is something about the west that makes the gathering of brothers and sisters together in faith optional next to other “things” considered more vital.

 

There is something about being around “Christianity” all the time that makes us in the west numb to our need to gather with people who really are transformed by the Gospel and find the encouragement to keep on being faithful when so much would tempt one to just go back.

 

There is something about the west that makes gathering with groups of like-minded folk in small groups or on Sundays unnecessary in our minds and souls.

 

I would argue it is because we have replaced faith with pragmatism.

 

Rather than saying “I brought the Triune God of the universe the best of my soul today” we say, “I got something out of that” or “I got nothing out of that” or “this resulted from what I did today”.

 

2. Faith Says: Worship is for Father, Son and Spirit and any benefit to me is grace

                        A. Worship is for God not for people (not consumer friendly)

 

B. Worship can be a means of grace in that we are encouraged

by the Spirit and other people as we bring our best to the Lord

 

3. Faith Says: I am commended as righteous by Father through faith working through worship

A. Commended  (Passive) – “martureo” – to present officially, to bear witness to

1. Father counted Abel righteous through faith working through his

worship

a. Gospel faith was present through repentance and trust

2. Father was witnessing to Abel’s faith by accepting his sacrifice

a. Gospel acceptance in Christ was present through the same repentance and trust

4. Faith Says: My entire life is to be an act of worship

A. Gospel Faith cannot exist where fire insurance exists (its doubled minded)

1. Jesus is worth more than a “just in case” proposition

B. Gospel Faith gives the best of one’s resources (money, time, effort, energy)

1. Giving is a matter of trust that the treasure of the Kingdom is

greater than the treasures of purchase power

C. Gospel Faith cannot be silenced

1. Though Cain killed the body, the soul lives on and the testimony of Father’s commendation of Abel cannot be extinguished

a. Abel’s faith still speaks because Father commended him

 

 

 

Conclusion:

1. Guard faith

Faith is often the target of the enemy.

“For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would be in vain.” (1 Thessalonians 3:5 ESV)

A. Take the shield of faith

“In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;” (Ephesians 6:16 ESV)

 

2. Do not forsake the gathering of believers

 

3. Test yourself to make sure your mind’s attention and heart’s affection are focused on the Lord and not you or any other

 

4. Set your thoughts and emotions on the fact that by faith you are right and accepted by Father through faith in the Son and guaranteed by the indwelling Spirit

 

5. Be a giver not a taker

 

6. Build a legacy of faith that cannot be silenced even when you die

A. So many men live for now and leave death and destruction in their wake.

B. Live so that your kids and all those who come behind them imitate your faith

 


[1] Thomas D. Lea, vol. 10, Hebrews, James, Holman New Testament Commentary; Holman Reference (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999), 200.

cf. compare

[2] D. A. Carson, New Bible Commentary : 21st Century Edition, 4th ed. (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill., USA: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994), Heb 11:1–40.

[3] Thomas D. Lea, vol. 10, Hebrews, James, Holman New Testament Commentary; Holman Reference (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999), 200-01.