Faith & Hope Work Together

(Chapter 11)

Fred R. Coulter, November 13, 2004

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Hebrews 11 is the faith chapter. What we have been doing is examining what kind of faith is it that we are to have that it is talked about here in Hebrews 11. How does that come about? I want to just reiterate a couple of more things concerning it.

Hebrews 11:1: "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for…"

  • We're hoping for the resurrection!
  • We're hoping for eternal life!
  • We're hoping for the return of Christ when that will be!

God is the God of hope as we have covered. Faith, hope and love all work together. Then we're going to look at another element of hope which is trust, and see how all of this works together.

Romans 15:4: "For all the things that were written before were written for our instruction, so that through patient endurance…"

We've all had to learn that There are a lot of people who don't have patience and endurance. Patience is the state of mind; endurance is living through it.

"…and encouragement of the Scriptures, we might have hope" (v 4). This ties together all the things we've heard for years—prayer and study and all of these things come together with this. Also, it shows us that God wants us to be inspired to be in the Kingdom of God, because He's not going to beat us in there; He's not going to drive us in there. He wants us to love Him so that we can be there.

Verse 5: "Now may the God of patience and encouragement and encouragement grant you to be like-minded toward one another according to Christ Jesus. So that with one accord and one mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." This is something!

How do we become like-minded? You have to have the mind of Christ in you, then you'll be like-minded! When we talk about the mark of the beast, Satan wants everyone to be like-minded according to him by the enforcement of his will. God's way is entirely different! "…be like-minded…" and "…with one accord…"

  • because we love God
  • because we know the Scriptures
  • because we live by them

Verse 13: "May the God of hope fill you now with all joy and peace in believing that you may abound in hope and in the power of the Holy Spirit." That's what God wants it to be.

Hebrews 11:1: "…of the things hoped for..." Let's understand about this faith and this substance that comes from God. That is the faith that comes from God and the substance is the Holy Spirit.

"…and the conviction of things not seen" (v 1). This is something that is very difficult to find nowadays—people with true conviction: conviction is the strength of belief that you know what has been promised will happen; conviction also has to do with the conviction that the way that you believe the Word of God. If you do not have conviction, then you will be like a wave that's 'tossed to and fro,' and that's what James is talking about (James 1). When you have faith without conviction, then you're tossed like a wave.

CONVICTION

Let's talk about conviction for just a minute—conviction is greater than blind loyalty. Blind loyalty is something that people do without thinking. God does not want that.

  • He wants us to think
  • He wants us to know
  • He wants us to understand
  • He wants us to have knowledge and wisdom

So, the conviction and faith that we have then is that it comes from God and it is something that grows and develops in your Christian life. Let's see how all of these things come together here:

James 1:1: "James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes, which are in the dispersion…" This tells us that James knew where they were. You wouldn't write a letter and put it in the mailbox and say, 'To So-and-So, good luck, I hope it gets there. I don't know where you are. Dear Postman, work hard.' No!

To all twelve tribes "…Greetings! Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you are beset by various trials" (vs 1-2). I think we are all growing toward that point. I have yet to say 'I joy in this trial.' Afterwards, when I have some understanding about it, I feel better.
Verse 3: "Knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance." See how we have hope, endurance, patience, conviction, faith all together in one package.

Verse 4: "But let endurance have its perfect work… [in other words, don't give up half way through] …so that you may be perfect and complete, not lacking in anything. However, if anyone lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, Who gives to everyone freely and does not reproach the one who asks; and it shall be given to him. But let him ask in faith, not doubting… [that's the hardest thing to do] …not doubting at all because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven by the wind and tossed to and fro" (vs 4-6).

When anyone prays and he or she gets up and says, 'Well, I wonder if God is going to answer that prayer?' You've just lost it! You have just said, 'I don't believe.' What you need to do is get up and say to yourself, 'I wonder how God is going to answer that prayer.' Entirely different! And sometimes He'll answer the prayer in a way that you do not know or do not expect. Have you ever had that happen? Yes, indeed, many times!

"…let him ask in faith, not doubting at all, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven by the wind and tossed to and fro."

Water is essential, but the wind can really do things to it. When hurricane Ivan came straight in there right at the place where we were staying for the Feast of Tabernacles, 30-foot wave surges came right through that building, and that was all driven by the wind. It also tells us this: that in the same way when you have wind that drives, like with a hurricane, the water causes the destruction. In the same way the lack of faith or the disbelief in God can cause as much destruction and disaster as a hurricane blowing the water in.

Verse 7: "Do not let that man expect that he will receive anything from the Lord. He is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways" (vs 7-8). That's when it is easy for Satan to come in and pick someone off. Double-minded! You have to be:

  • like-minded
  • Christ-minded
  • single-minded
  • educated

God wants you to be educated with His Word.

Let's see a little bit more concerning this. Let's add to this conviction. It's the conviction of the things not seen! It really struck me: I heard a man in Tulsa give a speech and it was about Psa. 51. As I was sitting there, and he was giving the right information and so forth, I was struck because when it was all done the question that came in my mind was this: Have you ever experienced repentance like Psa. 51? Because there was such a lack of conviction, and conviction becomes a very profound and important thing.

1-Thessalonians 1:2: "We give thanks to God always concerning all of you, making mention of you in our prayers. Without fail, we remember your work of faith, and your labor of love, and your endurance in the hope of our Lord Jesus Christ.... [See how Paul always ties these things together? Quite amazing!] …before our God and Father; knowing your election, brethren, as you are beloved by God. For our Gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit, and with great conviction…." (vs 2-5). That's what we need today.

You've heard the old story: 'If you don't stand for the Truth, you'll fall for anything.' We've seen that in operation, too. Part of the problem with this is that people get a position—it can be religious, it can be political, it can be educational, whatever—and this is more demonstrated in politics than anywhere else. The Republicans have a position, Democrats have a position, Libertarians have a position, and they defend the position regardless of the truth.

  • you can't do that with the Word of God
  • you can't do that in your Christian life

You have to stand for the Truth and you have to have conviction with it.

How does conviction come? Let's see how conviction comes. This is why it is so important and profound that we understand in believing and understanding the Word of God. You look back and you see those who have fallen by the wayside—they may have been loyal; they may have been enthusiastic—but were they really grounded in the Word of God and in the Truth by the Spirit of God? That's an entirely different question.

This becomes very important when we look out and see this happening in the world today and we see the events that are taking place and it's almost like watching a huge, giant rolling machine—you've seen how these big rolling machines roll out the asphalt—that's what it reminds me of, just a huge, giant juggernaut of a roller coming down the pike and it's going to come and nothing is going to turn it back. Unless we have the faith, hope and conviction and the love of God, we're going to be in difficult straits!

Here is how conviction comes, 2-Timothy 3:15: "And that from a child you have known the Holy Writings, which are able to make you wise unto salvation through faith, which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed… [that's the literal translation of it] …and is profitable for doctrine, for conviction…" (vs 15-16). That you have absolute conviction:

  • not only that God exists
  • not only that God is Truth
  • not only that His Word is true

but you have conviction in the things that you hope for and you know that they will come to pass because God said so, whether you see it come to pass or not!

"…for correction, for instruction in righteousness; so that the man of God may be complete, fully equipped for every good work" (vs 16-17). Then he talks a little later here in 1-Thess. 4 about those who want to hear myths; they want to hear stories. They don't want the Truth of God; they want a 'religion.'

Most people like a 'religion' that is comfortable enough for them so they can get along in the world and, hopefully close enough to God so that they can run to God when they have trouble, and that's the way too many people in the world do it.

I don't know how many are interested in baseball or so forth, but I like baseball and I was watching baseball. That's about the only thing I watch on television is sports; basketball is a bore; football is too brutal—There is a lot more skill in baseball because it's harder to do; you actually have to think; you actually have to have some skills. Watch some of these players—they get out there and they do their little Catholic, whatever it is, before they get up to bat. I often wonder, how do they justify doing that when they strike out? I mean, if the 'religion' is supposed to be so good and it's going to make you do something really good and God surely is on your side because you did this—because He saw you do this little sign—why don't you hit a homerun every time? When people have 'religion' and they want to hear myths, and they don't prove it by the Bible, then they get themselves in trouble. We've all seen the process take place.

Hebrews 10:22: "Let us approach God with a true heart, with full conviction of faith…" That tells you about how to approach God. In Heb. 11:6 it says you have to believe that God exists—that means you believe everything that He is.

"…with full conviction of faith, our hearts having been purified from a wicked conscience, and our bodies having been washed with pure water. Let us hold fast without wavering to the hope that we profess, for He Who promised is faithful" (vs 22-23). This is the kind of faith that is going to be necessary for us to survive these end-times.

TRUST

Let's look at the aspect of trust. Trust is very important even in human relationships. Why do you have good friends and people that you like to do business with? Because you trust them! You build up a trust over a period of time. What happens when someone becomes untrustworthy? What happens when you give trust to someone? and You give them not only trust… The way I work is this: From the Bible the example is this: you give a mission statement. Here is your job; here is what you are to do, go do it. I trust you to do it; whatever needs to be done, you do.

Isn't that what Christ does with us? Yes, He does! He says, 'Here is My Word. I've given you My Spirit. I've given you talents and pounds; go produce!' What happens when that trust is violated? We've all experienced that! We've all suffered from the one Proverb, which says, 'Trust no man.'

Let's see how we are to trust and, in this case, trust and faith and love all come together. This tells us not only who to trust, but how to trust"

Proverbs 3:5: "Trust in the LORD with all your heart…. [that's very akin to, 'love God with all your heart, mind, soul and being] …and lean not to your own understanding."

I can tell you that when I lean to my own understanding, I get myself in trouble. Did that ever happen to you? Yes, indeed! What do we learn from that? Don't trust in yourself or your own understanding!

Verse 5: "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths" (vs 5-6). That's the kind of trust that we need to grow into and develop. This means that:

  • we love God
  • we trust God
  • we have hope in God
  • we receive encouragement from God
  • we believe God
  • we know that what He says is going to happen

—because whatever God has said is going to happen.

Anytime you begin to doubt a little bit just go out and go some place and look at the beautiful creation that God has made. You can see it! You don't need faith or hope to see it. What does that tell us? That tells us that God's Word is true, because Jesus said, 'Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away.' That should encourage anyone who has any doubt. By the way, when you are standing there looking at the beautiful creation, do some praying, too, and maybe do a little repenting for not believing God the way that you ought to.

When you tie it all together—faith, hope, love, trust and conviction—this is what God wants us to have. We've heard a lot about the Laodiceans—I'm not going to beat up on them; they've been beat up enough—but all they need to do is repent. It's that simple. This is what is missing. People in the world do not have that kind of conviction. Oh, there are some few here and there, but that's why they are easy to be manipulated and you can see that.

This is the kind of trust that we are to do. If you trust in God, He will bring it to pass, and remember that it is God's purpose to have you in His Kingdom. That's why He has called us!

This is why David's going to be there, Psalm 18:1: "I will love you O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my Rock…" (vs 1-2). You can put a lot of Scriptures behind that. Remember what Jesus said? 'The man who hears My words is likened unto one who builds his house on a Rock,' and He is the Rock!

 "…and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my Rock, in Whom I take refuge..." (v 2)—trust. This is the kind of trust that God wants us to have.

Verse 30: "As for God, His way is perfect…" That's what we need to understand. Our understanding of God's way may be deficient, but that doesn't mean that God's way is deficient.

"…the Word of the LORD is tried… [that's why you can believe it] …He is a shield to all of those that take refuge in him… [He will help us and strengthen us] …for who is God besides the LORD? Or, Who is a Rock except our God? The God Who girds me with strength and makes my way perfect. Who makes my feet like hinds' feet… [that is in the battle] …and sets me upon my high places. He trains my hands for battle…." (vs 30-34). You can think about that in relationship to spiritual warfare, not only just the warfare that David had.

"…so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You have also given me the shield of Your salvation, and Your right hand has held me up, and your gentleness has made me great" (vs 34-35). All has to do with faith; all has to do with what God wants us to do; how He wants us to do it.

Let's look at another example of what Jesus said. Many of us are like Peter. This is when Jesus came walking on the water in the middle of a storm, and Peter looked out there:

Matthew 14:26: "And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled and said 'It is an apparition!' And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, 'Be of good courage; it is I. Do not be afraid.' Then Peter answered Him and said, 'Lord, if it is You, bid me to come to You upon the waters.' And He said, 'Come.' And after climbing down from the ship, Peter walked upon the waters to go to Jesus. But when he saw how strong the wind was, he became afraid; and as he was beginning to sink,he cried out, saying, 'Lord, save me!' And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, 'O you of little faith, why did you doubt?'" (vs 26-31).

Peter hadn't had time to build up faith and trust the way that he needed to. So likewise, we can get a great lesson out of this for all of us—not to doubt. God will work it out; He will make it happen and it will happen His way. Why? Because He said so! There is something else to learn out of this. When Peter saw he was in trouble, what did he do? He called out to God! What did Christ do? He rescued him! So, it puts us in the same category:

  • when we have doubts, then we go to God to help us
  • when we have things that aren't working out right, we pray and ask God to open the door and give us understanding
  • when we have a very difficult problem to solve, we ask God to help us.

Just exactly like the man who brought his son to have the disciples cast the demon out of him and they couldn't do it. When Jesus came, the father said, 'Well, if you can, cast him out.' Jesus said, 'If you believe.' He said, 'Lord, I believe, but help my unbelief.'

When you get into situations like this, if you have doubts, go to God; don't run away. If you need to be strengthened in faith, go to God; He will help you. Do like the father of the boy, go to God and say, 'God I believe, but help my unbelief.' I've had to do that many times, especially when you are in a deep, deep trial. As I've said before, all of us have our own little 'valley of death' that we have to walk through.

Trust also involves something else. Remember during the days of Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev when 'perestroika' was happening—what were the famous words? 'Trust, but verify.' In dealing with the Word of God, that's exactly what God wants us to do, just like the Bereans. What happened there? He came into Berea and Paul stood up in the synagogue and he told them about Jesus Christ and told them about salvation and the Gospel and everything that he was preaching. So, what did the Bereans do? They trusted, but verified; they 'searched the Scriptures whether these things were so.' Whenever anyone is a teacher or speaking, that's what you have to do.

I'll give you an example: When I was in Goshen, Indiana at the Feast—now where we live, we don't have a 'religious channel'—and in the Midwest you've got all kinds of religious channels, Midwest and South, and Michael Moore said: 'What we ought to do is reconfigure Canada and America and we'll have the United States of Canada and take all the East and West Coast and join that to the United States of Canada and we'll take the rest of it and call it Jesus Land.' He was serious; he put it on his website.

When I was back there, I happened to pick up on one of these religious channels. I was surfing through and I picked up on Charles Stanley. Now. Charles Stanley does pretty good. He goes down the line with this Scripture and down the line with this Scripture and I'm sitting there saying, 'Yeah, that's right. Yes, that's right.' Then when he gets to the end, a sudden left turn—'all you have to do is believe in your heart and Jesus enters your heart and you're saved.' NO! The Bible says you have to 'repent and be baptized.' That's how you trust and verify. That's what we need to do in the things that we do, so we can have trust.

Paul always reiterated this: he didn't come in his name, he didn't baptize in his name, he didn't preach in his name. He always preached in the name of Jesus Christ, and every epistle that Paul wrote, he always opens it up that he is an apostle of Christ by the commandment of God and the Lord Jesus Christ and so forth.

1-Timothy 1:11: "According to the Gospel… [which sums up what he said here in the beginning] …of the glory of the blessed God, with which I was entrusted."

This means that anyone who is a minister or a teacher has to be trustworthy with the Word of God. Too many preachers and teachers take the Word of God and they preach so much of it; they go down the line, and then all of a sudden they have their own solution. What that does, that violates the trust that God has given, and God even said of the false prophets, even though He didn't send them. He said, 'If you would have preached My Word to My people, I would have stood by it.' That's how great God's Word is. Paul said he was entrusted with it.

Verse 12: "And I thank Jesus Christ our Lord, Who has empowered me, that He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, who was previously a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent person; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief" (vs 12-13).

Just stop and think about the mindset that Paul had after he was converted. He could never ever, ever forget what he did to the brethren before he was converted. That was part of the suffering that he had all of his life, but he also knew that they will be in the Kingdom of God. He also knew that in the end, God would work it out right. But because of that, I think he was more scrupulous about handling the Word of God and teaching the Truth of God. I can't say than any of the other apostles, but in his own life and the conviction that he writes with, I just get the feeling that he was more scrupulous with the Word of God, to be trustworthy in it, because of what he was before and is reflected by what is written here.

Verse 14: "But the grace of our Lord abounded exceedingly with the faith and love that is in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of full acceptance: that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief" (vs 14-15). That's how he viewed it. All of these things impact upon faith; all of these things have to do with what Heb. 11 is talking about when it says by faith.

We will look at some of these examples that are given in Heb. 11. In every case they could not see the end of what was going to happen.

Hebrews 11:4: "By faith…" This is the kind of faith we are talking about: loving, trusting, believing. When God says something, it's going to happen! Why? God cannot lie! If He speaks it, it is as though it already is! So, when God says you're going to be in the Kingdom of God, He is viewing it from the point of view that you will be there; provided that:

  • you trust Him
  • believe Him
  • live your life His way

Let's see how this is exercised, Hebrews 11:4: "By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain… [we're going to learn quite a lesson out of this] …by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it, though he died, he is yet speaking."
Let's understand something: The Bible is called the living Word of God, because every bit of it is true, there is no lie in it! The difficulty is our understanding. As one man was talking to me this morning, he knows a person who knows about the Truth and so forth and he said, 'Well, God just hasn't opened up their minds.' That's sure true.

There is a lot here with Cain and Abel that tells us quite a bit, Genesis 4:3 "It came to pass, that Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground."

Does God require that first fruits be given? Yes, indeed! Does He require that if, in this case, the crop comes through that there is a tithe? Of course, He does! It wouldn't be wrong to bring something of the fruit of the ground provided that it was according to God's instructions.

Now let's look at Abel, v 4: "And Abel also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat of it. And the LORD had regard unto Abel and his offering."

Heb. 11 is belief and action based upon that belief. Let's look at the offering that Abel brought—the firstlings. Did God command that firstlings be brought? Yes He did! And if anyone has any doubt about the things concerning the laws that God gave to Israel, would these not be the same thing? Sure they would! If you want to know a little more about that, you can read what God gave to Israel.

Verse 4: "And Abel also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat of it. And the LORD had regard unto Abel and his offering." We're going to see why. A lot of people look at it this way and ask, 'Why would God do that? Did God have a favorite?'

Let's see what Cain did here, v 5: "But He did not have regard unto Cain and his offering. And Cain was extremely angry and his countenance fell. And the LORD said to Cain, 'Why are you so angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, shall you not be accepted? But if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it!'" (vs 5-7).

If you do what is right—according to the commands that God gave you—won't you be accepted? That's what He is saying.

Verse 7: "…But if you do not well… [he didn't do what was supposed to be done] …sin lies at the door…." You can go through and think of many examples like this. What do we have here with Cain? Cain decided to give God what he decided to give Him rather than what God commanded to give Him! This is why later on it talks about the way of Cain as being a 'religion.' What is a 'religion' but a way that man has devised as a substitute for doing what God has said! You can apply that to any religion: Protestantism, Catholicism, Islam, Orthodox, Buddhism, all of those are man's ways of coming to God! And God didn't accept it.

What does this show when you do something contrary to what God says to do and you think God ought to accept it? It shows several things. You didn't believe God, otherwise you would have done what He said. You could apply that to Sunday-keeping. Almost everybody who keeps Sunday knows that the seventh day is the Sabbath, but they keep Sunday. You can apply that to anything else whatever it is.

To give you an example: there was a man who wrote me and he said, 'I'm writing something up on the history of the Church for some people in the Ukraine; could you please help me out?' Well, I'll be glad to help you out. I got his phone number and called him and talked to him and we were talking along and so forth, and so I asked him, 'Which day do you keep?' After I let him know that we keep the Sabbath. I said, 'We keep the Sabbath. What day do you keep?' Oh, we keep Sunday. I said, 'Well, if you're going to write a history about the Church and you write about Sunday-keepers, you're going to miss the real history of the true Church of God; you're going to miss it entirely. Since you're supposed to be teaching them God's way, you better be careful that you really teach them God's way.'

That's just another example of what was done here by Cain. He approached God his way! How are we to approach God? God's way! We are to approach God with a repentant heart and a humble attitude.

Let's look at something else here, v 7: "…But if you do not do well, sin lies at the door…." What is He talking about: at the door? Well, I believe He is talking about the entrance into the Garden of Eden; that's where the altar was, and so Cain is bringing sin to the altar of God by doing his way. There is quite a lesson here. It shows that Abel had faith and did what God said, and believed God, and acted upon what God had said. That belief must be acted upon and when you do, understanding will come later.

ENOCH

Hebrews 11:5: "By faith… [the faith we're talking about is the living, believing, acting faith] …Enoch was transported…" A lot of people say that he didn't die, and in every commentary it says he didn't die.

But over here in v 13 Paul wrote, "All these died…" so that means that Enoch died. And we'll look at another Scripture confirming that he did not go to heaven.

Verse 5: "…Enoch was transported so that he would not look upon death, and was not found because God had transported him… [What does it mean, he was not found?] …for before his departure it was testified of him that he pleased God."

That says an awful lot. How many people in the Bible does it say that they pleased God? The most important one is Christ! 'This is My beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased' or well delighted or in Whom I have delight.

Genesis 5:21: "And Enoch lived sixty-five years and begat Methuselah. And Enoch walked with God..." (vs 21-22). How can people walk with God unless they agree?

Let's understand something that's very profound and very important to realize: Most people in the world view those who believe God and follow God as weak, because they're depending on God. But the exact opposite is true. When you rely on God, and walk with God, and do the things that please Him, that is a sign of strength. That is a profound thing from this point of view: you are fulfilling your purpose in life as never before, because God made us in His image so that we would become like He is! When we walk with God:

  • we agree with God
  • we trust God
  • we love God
  • we have faith in God

This is what it's talking about. Of all in the Old Testament it doesn't even say this of David, though it says that 'He was a man after My own heart.'

Verse 22: "And Enoch walked with God three hundred years after he begat Methuselah…. [so he continued all the way] …And he begat sons and daughters. And all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. And Enoch walked with God, and then he was not…" (vs 22-24).

Now you have a problem. If Enoch still lives, then he has more days. Even here is an indication that he died.

"…and he was not; for God took him" (v 24). Couldn't find him! Apparently what happened was: the sinners were so violent against Enoch that God had to intervene and rescue him, transport him to another place so they couldn't kill him.

Why don't you do this, if you want an additional study about walking:

  • walking in God's way
  • walking in the Truth
  • walking in love
  • walking in faith

—all of that shows how we are to live.

Let's see how we tie this together with faith, 1-John 3:18 "My little children, we should not love in word, nor with our tongues; rather, we should love in deed and in Truth." That applies not only to our neighbors, but that also applies to God.

Verse 19: "And in this way we know that we are of the Truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him… [this is also what we might describe as a way of also building conviction] …that if our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our hearts…" (vs 19-20).

What is he talking about here? When you sin or you do something wrong and your heart condemns you! What was the matter with Cain's offering? When he found out he didn't do right, his heart didn't condemn him! He didn't repent! He got jealous of his brother Abel and went out and murdered him! Again, taking things into his own hands.

So, if we sin—John talks about there is 'a sin not unto death—and sins not unto death are those things that we experience. If you come along and you sin and you feel bad and your heart condemns you, what is that? That is your conscience and God's Spirit leading you so you can repent! That's what God wants us to do. That's all a part of our living and being as a human being and being Christians.

"…God is greater than our hearts, and knows all things" (v 20). If you've sinned, God already knows it. Lots of times I've done it, you've done it, you sin and you think, 'Oh well, I'll go pray and repent when I get right.' Well, the only way to get right is to repent!

Verse 21: "Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, then we have confidence toward God…. [which is another aspect of faith] …And whatever we may ask we receive from Him because we keep His commandments and practice those things that are pleasing in His sight" (vs 21-22). God wants us to do the things that are pleasing to Him, and the example of Enoch tells us.

All of us sin because of the human nature that we have and part of the operation of God's Spirit through the Holy Spirit and the washing of the water by the Word cleans our minds up. We sin because we give into a temptation, and sometimes we really willingly give into a temptation though it's not willful rebellion. Let's put it this way: willful, deliberate, premeditated rebellion can be more like the unpardonable sin. All the other sins are able to be forgiven upon repentance. The example of David and what he did and the examples of others show us that. When David did his thing with Bathsheba, he knew what he was doing, but he was thinking he could work it out. It got him into trouble, deep, deep, deep trouble, but he did repent.

It's not a matter of all people sin, therefore, no use trying to overcome sin, but it's a matter that all people sin because they have human nature and have the law of sin and death in them so God has provided a way out of that sin. That's what we're talking about here, the process of coming out of that sin. {note sermon in this series: Hebrews #29 and that covers the unpardonable sin.} It is a very profound and deliberate action. Notice we keep His commandments. If you believe God, you will keep His commandments won't you? Yes!

Verse 22: "…and practice those things that are pleasing in His sight. And this is His commandment: that we believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and that we love one another, exactly as He gave commandment to us. And the one who keeps His commandments is dwelling in Him, and He in him… [that ties right back in to John 15] …and by this we know that He is dwelling in us: by the Spirit which He has given to us" (vs 22-24).

That ties it all together. When we do the things that please God—in our attitude; and that encompasses everything that we do—that puts us in a relationship with God that is very deep and unsinkable, or unmovable!

Even when you look at the seven churches in Rev. 2 & 3, they all had their troubles and difficulties. Don't view it from the point of view that you are only acceptable with God when you're perfect, because that will never be. You can be perfect in faith and love and hope and that makes you perfect before God in Spirit and in attitude, but as long as we're in the flesh, we can never be perfect.

Enoch: How do we know that he wasn't taken to heaven? How do we know that he is not there? Here is a parenthetical statement that John wrote in the Gospel of John when he finished canonizing the New Testament.

John 3:13: "And no one has ascended into heaven, except He Who came down from heaven, even the Son of man, Who is in heaven"—showing that that's where He was when it was written. That statement is true—no one has ascended into heaven, Enoch hasn't ascended into heaven! Elijah hasn't ascended into heaven! The virgin Mary was not bodily assumed into heaven! None of the saints are there; they're still in their graves, and their statues are idols around St. Peter's Basilica. No one has ascended! That's why—this is another verification—that when Paul wrote, 'All these died in faith not having received the promises…' it verifies the fact that Enoch died!

Why do the religions in the world teach that he went to heaven? Because they don't believe in the resurrection! They believe in going to heaven. If they can say that Enoch went to heaven—though they can't prove it—then that means we'll go to heaven. That's the logic that follows along with it. Enoch did not go there.

NOAH

Let's look at Noah. Isn't it interesting that of those before the Flood, Paul only wrote about Abel and Enoch and Noah.

Hebrews 11:6: "Now, without faith it is impossible to please God…." That tells you how you can please God. If you are doing the things that please God, what are you doing? You're doing them by faith! You're:

  • walking by faith
  • believing in hope
  • living in love

Verse 6: "…For it is mandatory…" That's what it is in the Greek, it's absolutely required, necessary.

"…for the one who comes to God to believe that He exists…" (v 6). Not only that He is a being Who exists, but that He is everything that His existence shows that He is:

  • He is all-powerful
  • He is all-knowing
  • God is love
  • God is merciful
  • God is kind
  • God is forgiving

—but to the enemies and the wicked, He brings His wrath and His vengeance and His sword. You have to believe everything that God is.

Verse 6: "…and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." Note: 'seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened' if you diligently seek Him.

Verse 7: "By faith Noah, after being divinely instructed by God about the things he could not yet see, was moved with fear and prepared an ark for the salvation of his house; through which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith." That was quite an act that Noah did.
They know scientifically as they have examined the genes, if you watch the History Channel or Discovery Channel, they were explaining about mitochondria genes. Mitochondria genes are those that every human being receives from his or her mother. They have been able to demonstrate that there came a time in history when the mitochondria genes were restricted down to a very narrow inheritance. Then after that they came out again.

I looked at that and I thought: doesn't that tell us about the Flood? Doesn't that tell us here God created Adam and Eve and then we had all the human beings before the Flood? Then all of a sudden the whole inheritance of mankind comes down to Shem, Ham, and Japheth and their wives. The mitochondria genes were restricted down. Quite something! Noah lived in a time when it was hard to have faith. Noah was the only one who believed God! You think you are alone! Think how rare that is.

Genesis 6:5: "And the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually…. [that's how it is today] …And the LORD repented that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart" (vs 5-6)—because of all the evil and hatred and killing and violence that was going on.

Verse 7: "And the LORD said, 'I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, and the crawling thing, and the fowl of the air; for I repent that I have made them.' But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD…. [we are going to find something about Noah that's important] …These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man and perfect in his generations, for Noah walked with God" (vs 7-9).

"…perfect in his generations…" undoubtedly means his genealogy, because a lot was going on, we don't know exactly everything, but I'll tell you this: just stay tuned to what's going on in the world today because that is what was going on then. It says, 'As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the coming of the Son of Man' so, we know that that's exactly what it was like, exactly what we have today here.

He walked with God! That was also said of Enoch. He walked with God! What did he have to do? He had to build an ark! With that ark God condemned the world. Since they didn't have rain like we have it today, they didn't believe. Can you imagine all the ridicule that Noah went through in building the ark? Well, it did take place; there was a flood; it did cover the earth, and the Word of God is proved true.

Remember the first blow-up of Mt. St. Helens? They went in and did a lot of scientific discovery. What did they discover? A lot of things, and in particularly concerning geological strata and so forth. They discovered that the strata was laid down one on top of another almost instantly. The scientists would come along and they would believe in their evolution and geology and they would see a petrified tree standing straight up with many different strata that it's buried in and they say, 'Oh, that took thousands of years.'

Well, that was undone up here in Mt. St. Helens because all of the ice and the glacier melted when the thing blew up and here came all the water and all the mud and all the muck and it built the strata, and there were trees standing up going through many of the strata that was there, and they found out that that kind of thing happens instantly! So, there is a whole lot more that they are learning concerning the true facts which go against all of the things that are taught in the schools about geology and paleontology and all of this sort of thing. By the way, they still have not found the 'missing link'—because there isn't any.

Noah had to build the ark and he didn't know when the Flood was going to be. One day when it was done, God put them in there and He broke open the deeps and the fountains of heaven gave forth, covered the earth with a flood, and it covered the tops of the mountains. It did happen, and he moved with action! I have seen all four things of Ron Wyatt:

  • Noah's Ark—(I think he did fine)

The remains of the ark, which are right there on a saddle of a valley in the mountains of Ararat. Not on top, because if you have something floating along, it's not going to settle down on something that is not flat it's going to settle down in an area where it can rest down more in a flat area. The metal that was used in that, they still don't know what kind of metal it is. The government of Turkey now has a place where you can go view it.

  • Sodom and Gomorrah (and I think he has that one right)

It shows the actual city of Sodom and Gomorrah is nothing but dust and ashes of rock. Down in the valley they have little globules of pure sulfur. It showed on the video how they took this sulfur—and it's very intense heat that comes from it—and they put it on a spoon and lit it and it burned its way right through the spoon! So I believe those two things are right. The other two things:

  • Crossing of the Red Sea is not right.
  • Ark of the Covenant is not right.

FAITH & HOPE

Let's talk about faith and hope working together, Romans 8:24: "For by hope we were saved; but hope that is seen is not hope; for why would anyone still be hoping for what he sees?"

That's why faith is so important because it's faith that gives us the assurance of the things that are hoped for and the conviction of things not yet seen! When Noah built the ark, he was basing it upon what God told him to do. When the Flood came, there was no longer any waiting for the Flood. What he was hoping for was for the end of it to come. When it came and the ark rested down and they were able to eventually get out of the ark, they didn't hope they would get through the Flood any longer. They were already there!

So likewise in our salvation and the things that we are looking to, we are hoping and trusting in God, in faith, and acting upon that in such a way that it will come to pass. When it comes to pass, then we have the real thing. When the resurrection takes place, there is no more hope of the resurrection for us; we will have made it. Today, we have the hope of the resurrection. Today, we have the hope of God's intervention. That's why we must have faith and action the way that it is listed out here in Heb. 11.

Verse 25: "But if we hope for what we do not see, we ourselves wait for it with patience. Now, in the same way also, the Spirit is conjointly helping our weaknesses because we do not fully understand what we should pray for, according as it is necessary, but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groanings that cannot be expressed by us." (vs 25-26).

God knows that. God is searching our hearts and our minds and with His Spirit is leading us. God's Spirit communicates to God the real truth of our heart and the intense desire of our feelings that we have toward God, and filters out all the rest.

Someone asked me one time, 'Well I was praying and I all of a sudden remembered that I left the water running in the sink. So, I had to get up and go turn off the water. Does God bother about things like this?' I said, 'Well, maybe God was the One Who revealed to you that you left the water on while you were praying.' Who knows, but I can tell you this: It filters out everything of our carnality that doesn't need to go to God; that's why it expresses it in this way.
Verse 27: "And the One Who searches the hearts comprehends what the strivings of the Spirit are because it makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God."

Here is the ultimate of faith, v 28: "And we know that all things work together for good…" All things, it doesn't say some of the things, part of the things, the important things.

"…all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose" (v 28).

I think with that, we can look at all the trials and all the difficulties that we go through and know it's all going to work for good as long as we:

  • love God
  • trust God
  • have faith in God
  • act upon that faith
  • believe in God
  • walk in His way

That's the kind of faith we are dealing with all the way through Heb. 11.

All Scriptures from The Holy Bible in Its Original Order, A Faithful Version

Scriptural References:

  • Hebrews 1:1
  • Romans 15:4-5, 13
  • Hebrews 11:1
  • James 1:1-8
  • 1 Thessalonians 1:2-5
  • 2 Timothy 3:15-17
  • Hebrews 10:22-23
  • Proverbs 3:5-6
  • Psalm 18:1-2, 30-35
  • Matthew 14:26-31
  • 1 Timothy 1:11-15
  • Hebrews 11:4
  • Genesis 4:3-7
  • Hebrews 11:5, 13, 5
  • Genesis 5:21-24
  • 1 John 3:18-24
  • John 3:13
  • Hebrews 11:6-7
  • Genesis 6:5-9
  • Romans 8:24-28

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • Psalm 51
  • 1 Thessalonians 4
  • John 15
  • Revelation 2; 3

Also referenced: Sermon:
                        Unpardonable Sin (Hebrews Series #29)

FRC/jea
Transcribed: 08/17/09 | Formatted/Corrected: bo—January/2017

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