Gospel Faith in the Old Testament: Host of Witnesses

GFOT: Host of Witnesses

Hebrews 11:32-38

 

Images of persecution and imprisonment pile up to convince the first readers of Hebrews that their experience has been one with that of believers in former generations (36–38; cf. 10:32–34), to encourage them to persevere in faith.

 

If the encouragement is to persevere because they, like the OT saints, have had to endure difficulty, then the encouragement to us is the same.

 

As the OT recipients of the gospel had to endure, we too must endure.

 

They were encouraged to stay the course through endurance of hardship brought on through persecution for the faith as some of the OT saints that have been mentioned had to do.

 

But not all of those OT saints had to endure the same persecution.

 

Some put armies to flight, enforced justice, received promises and all of this by faith.

 

Now, we are not persecuted as some of these saints were and like the original recipients of this letter. However, we do share something with some of these saints who put armies to flight, enforced justice and received promises.

 

Not everyone in this list of faithful has a clean past. The reason is that they are sinners.

 

Sin – any failure to conform to the moral law of God in act, attitude or nature.[1]

 

This is vital to understand because Satan, our enemy and hater of our soul, continually seeks our ineffectiveness through accusing us of sin.

 

Zechariah 3:1

Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him.

 

Revelation 12:10

And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.

 

In spite if their past they trusted and were faithful and still did great work for the kingdom.

 

Gideon – afraid to tear down Baal’s alter during the day so he did it at night, then he tested the Lord’s word and The Lord graciously condescended to answer him in spite of his mistrust

 

Barack – would not go to battle as The Lord had said unless Deborah went with him and the result was The Lord gave the enemy into the hands of the braver Jael

 

Sampson – impatient and consorting with prostitutes ends up having his eyes gouged out and enslaved over a woman

 

Jephthah – sacrifices his daughter

 

David – serious family issues, ends up getting one of his warriors wife pregnant, murders Uriah, gives the throne to Absalom in weakness

 

Satan is right. We are sinners.

 

Adam and Eve rebelled against Father.

 

We inherit our parent’s nature and are corrupt in nature and guilty nature, what we say and what we do. We lack any spiritual good before God. We, in our actions are totally unable to do spiritual good before Father.

 

But, this is where the Gospel is vital for us to remember and for us to come back in warfare against Satan.

 

Ephesians 6:10-20

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

We are to take up the armor of God; therefore, it’s the armor of the Gospel.

 

We are sinners. But God has done something about that. The Gospel!

 

These men are called faithful not because they are perfect, but because they placed their hope in the King of the universe for their righteousness by faith and were justified by faith and brought near to God through the work of Jesus Christ.

 

1. Satan’s lie is that your sin disqualifies you from being effective in the work of the kingdom

 

A. Do not let your personal sin keep you from service.

 

B. Fight with the truth of the Gospel that identifies you as a child of God

 

2. Repent of sin and get to work

 

A. If you become aware of sin through the Word and work of the Spirit or just acknowledge

that what Word and Spirit have already been prompting you about you have dealt a blow to

Satan.

 

B. Get to work!

1. Radical Kids

2. Set up / Take down

3. Sound / AV

4. Band

5. Young Moms

6. Adoption / Fostering

7. Murphy Harpst

8. Buddy Break

9. Connect Groups!!!!!

 

3. Be a worthy servant v. 38

 

A. A worthy servant is one whose home is not in this world

1. “World” in Scripture sometimes applies to the earth. Mostly it applies to how

John uses the word, meaning the system of beliefs and actions and attitudes

that are contrary to the Gospel.

 

2. Currently, the kingdoms of our globe are part of this system of the “world”.

 

3. If we obey the Lord and are servants that this present “world” is not worthy of

then we are servants who are effective ambassadors for the Kingdom of God that

is coming with the advance of the Gospel and present in the fellowship of believers

in the church.

 

B. A worthy servant is one whose decision making in this world looks like decisions

that goes with their homeland

1. It’s very clear that Jesus is operating on a different set of values in the Sermon

on the Mount.

 

2. Make decisions as they are made in the Manual, Scripture.

 

C. A worthy servant is one whose actions reflect the King they represent as ambassador

1. Do what the Manual says to do!

 

2. Most of our issues go away if we just obey the Manual.

 

Conclusion:

 

1. What sin has been keeping you from acting?

 

2. Repent!

 

3. What work makes you pound the table and makes your heart beat fast?

 

4. Get to work!


[1] Grudem, Systematic Theology, p. 490

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