I taught on Hebrews 11 recently at church, stepping in a short notice to cover for someone else so my notes where not very fulsome. Chapter 10 we had decided the week before was written for people facing tough choices where the seemingly obvious thing to do was reject faithfulness to God. The chapter is written so that by the end we feel that the obvious is to remain faithful. It is a reminder, too, that the church is to be the place where faithfuness to God in the face of touch choices seems obvious. Hebrews 11 carries on the theme, giving us a motiviation for faithfulness in tough situations.
We defined faith as used in Hebrews 11 on the basis of 11:1 as ‘living with the confidence that what God promises for the future is better than what we see in the present.’
We explored what this meant in the life of Abraham and Moses. We also saw that for some it means apparent success while for others it meant failure (vv. 32-38). The attitude of both groups is the same: they are prepared to take risks because they are confident that what God promises for the future is better than what we see in the present. The outcome of such faith-based actions is in God’s hands.
We concluded with the following questions to help explore whether we are living with the confidence that what God promises for the future is better than what we see in the present:
- What did you do yesterday for your present? for God’s future?
- What did you do last week because you saw an advert or something someone else had? because of your confidence in God’s promises?
- What will you do tomorrow to store up treasure on earth? to store up treasure in heaven?
- When did you last take a risk for God? What did you risk?
- Hebrews 11:25 says the pleasure of sin are fleeting. Psalm 16:11 says that at God’s right hand ‘are pleasures forevermore’. What gives you pleasure? Is that pleasure fleeting or forevermore?
- Death separates us from every source of happiness except Jesus. Can you say with Paul that ‘to die is gain’ because Jesus is your ultimate joy?
- What about big life decisions you have made? Your job? Your home? Your relationships? Did you make them on the basis of God’s promises for the future?
- What about the decisions your are facing? What would it mean to make them on the basis of God’s promise for the future?