“Patriarchal Faith Pt 1” – Hebrews 11:7-16

January 20th, 2019

Hebrews 11:7-16

“Patriarchal Faith Pt 1

Aux. Text: Genesis 6:5-22

Call to Worship: Psalm 37

 

Service Orientation:  If you are going to live by faith then you’ve got to courageously embrace delayed gratification and a serious long-term horizon because the world is going to call you an idiot.

 

Bible Memory Verse for the Week:  Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. — Matthew 6:19-20

 

Background Information:

  • In Abel we see how faith makes death the path to life. In Enoch, how faith conquers death.  In Noah, how faith saves others from death by the work it does for them.  (Andrew Murray, The Holiest of All, 433)
  • The first part of Hebrews has proven that Christ is higher in authority and status than Moses and higher than any other high priest. Here the emphasis is that the world to come will be better than this present world.  This “better world” was the country of their own that the people of faith “saw in the distance” (11:13).  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Hebrews, 187-8)
  • (v. 7) Noah was righteous through faith. It so happens that he is the first man in the Bible to be called dikaios, righteous (Gn 6:9).  His goodness consisted in the fact that he took God at his word.  When other men broke God’s commandments, Noah kept them; when other men were deaf to God’s warnings, Noah listened to them; when other men laughed at God, Noah reverenced him.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series, Hebrews, 142)
  • (v. 7) Noah probably lived in Mesopotamia, between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, a long way from any ocean or sizeable lake. It is difficult to imagine how God’s message must have sounded to Noah.  To most of us it would have been so strange, so demanding, so embarrassing, so absolutely overwhelming, that we would have done anything to get out of it.  We would have thought up a thousand excuses for not doing it.  We would have done our best to talk God out of the whole idea, or at least convince Him to get someone else for the job.

But Noah, who had but a fraction of the divine light that we have, did not argue, quibble, make excuses, complain, or procrastinate.  He did not question God, but simply began obeying Him.  He spent over one hundred years fulfilling this single command.  True faith does not question, and Noah did not question.  Among the countless faithful saints who have endured and persisted in obedience to God, Noah stands supreme, if for nothing else than the shear magnitude and time span of his one incredible assignment from the Lord.  (John MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur NT Commentary: Hebrews, 318-9)

 

  • (v. 7) Noah built the ark in reverence. The Greek word (eulabeia) can be translated “pious care, or concern,” with pious taken in the original sense of genuine spiritual devotion.  He treated the message of God with great respect and awe.  He “was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God” (Gn 6:9).  (John MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur NT Commentary: Hebrews, 319)
  • (v. 7) The Hebrew word for pitch, for example, has the same root (kpr) as that used for atonement. The pitch kept the waters of judgment from entering the ark just as Christ’s atoning blood keeps judgment from the sinner.  (John MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur NT Commentary: Hebrews, 319)
  • (v. 7) Not only is God’s warning of judgment an act of mercy, but even the judgment itself has a merciful aspect. For the sake of the believing remnant on earth in Noah’s day, the Lord had to cut out the malicious and destructive spiritual cancer or it would have overwhelmed the world.  (John MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur NT Commentary: Hebrews, 323)
  • (v. 8) Without any doubt Abraham is the greatest example of faith in the Bible. (R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word: Hebrews, vol. 2, 95)
  • (v. 8) Abraham was a sinful heathen who grew up in an unbelieving and idolatrous society. We do not know exactly how or when God first made Himself known to Abraham, but he was raised in a home that was pagan (Josh 24:2).  (John MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur NT Commentary: Hebrews, 327)
  • (v. 8) So special is the place that Abraham occupies in God’s program for redeeming men, that he is called, “the father of all who believe.” Inasmuch as we do not know how God revealed Himself to Abel, Enoch and Noah, we can say the first recorded face to face revelation began with Abraham.  (C. S. Lovett, Lovett’s Lights on Hebrews, 254)
  • (v. 8) In the Greek, he was called is a present participle, and the translation could be, “when he was being called.” In other words, as soon as he understood what God was saying, he started packing.  It was instant obedience.  It may have taken several days, or even weeks or months, to make final preparation for the trip, but in his mind he was already on the way.  (John MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur NT Commentary: Hebrews, 327)
  • (v. 9) It is important to note that the promise that his descendants would inherit the land did not come until Abraham was already in Canaan, and the promise would not be realized by Abraham himself but by his offspring. Thus, he did not go to the land to possess it but to live out an act of obedience to God.  (George H. Guthrie, The NIV Application Commentary: Hebrews, 377)
  • (v. 10) The verb “looking forward” connotes intensely looking forward to and waiting for that city. This was not an earthly city, but a city with eternal foundations.  This contrasts with the tents in which Abraham lived.  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Hebrews, 185)
  • (v. 10) Three concepts of the city were prevalent in the first-century world, Jewish, Greek and Stoic. In Jewish thought the city was the home of the divine sovereignty.  In Greek thought the city was the place of special privilege.  It was not for all and sundry, but for a specially select company.  The Stoic view was rather the opposite.  It believed the city to be the focus of universal hope.  The NT concept of the city of God makes use of the leading ideas of all three.  By divine sovereignty, it is God’s city.  He dwells among his people (12:22).  By special privilege it is the believers’ city, yet in God’s mercy he calls into it all who will believe in Jesus.  (Raymond Brown, The Bible Speaks Today:  Hebrews, 208)
  • (v. 11) That Sarah is included as a hero of faith bothers some readers. They do not feel she is a good example of faith because she received the promise of God with laughter.  Then there’s a problem in the Gk. text.  The words, “ability to conceive,” refer primarily to disposing of seed, a male function.  For that reason some scholars feel the reference is to Abraham rather than to Sarah.  However, we do not as yet have the final word on the Gk. text.  (C. S. Lovett, Lovett’s Lights on Hebrews, 256)
  • (v. 13) Not Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob, ever possessed the Promised Land. In fact it was almost 500 years after Jacob died that Israel first began to possess Canaan.  (John MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur NT Commentary: Hebrews, 334)
  • (v. 16) “Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham” (Gal 3:6, 7; cf. Heb 2:16). James adds that because of Abraham’s faith, Abraham was called “God’s friend” (2:23).  Abraham is thus the undisputed paragon of faith.  (R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word: Hebrews, vol. 2, 95)
  • Countless descendants of Abraham formed the nation Israel. And through Abraham all nations on earth were blessed (Gn 12:3; Gal 3:8).  But more significantly, Abraham’s descendants ultimately are all believers (Rom 9:6-8; Gal 3:7-9, 16, 29; 4:28).  All believers in Christ call Abraham their father, for in effect, the promised Son is the Christ, not Isaac.  (William Hendriksen & Simon J. Kistemaker, NT Commentary: Hebrews, 325)

 

The question to be answered is . . . What can we learn from Noah and Abraham about living by faith?

 

Answer: If you live by faith in God you are going to look like an idiot in the eyes of the world.   You are an alien and stranger in this world because you are a citizen of heaven.  Your full meal deal reward is in heaven, not here on earth.

 

The Word for the Day is again . . . Faith

 

What can we learn from Noah and Abraham about living by faith?:

I-  To the world you’re an idiot.  (Heb 11: 7-9, 11; see also: Mt 21:38-45; Lk 17:25; Jn 1:10-11; 3:43; 1 Cor 1:18-2:16; Heb 11:35-39; Jam 4:4; 1 Jn 4:1-6)

 

The characteristics of Christian discipleship are, from the world’s perspective, are the marks of losers. (Alistair Begg; A Christian Manifesto – Part 2: a sermon from Luke 6:20-27)

 

We have only to think of the early days of the Church.  One man meets a friend.  He says to him:  “I have decided to become a Christian.”  The other man replies:  “Do you know what happens to Christians?  They are outlaws.  They are imprisoned, thrown to the lions, crucified, burned.”  The first man replies:  “I know.”  And the other says despairingly:  “You must be mad.”  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series, Hebrews, 141)

 

The difference between the unbeliever and the believer is this:  the one is a man of the world, and lives here; the other is a man of God, and lives in heaven.  His whole life is a protest and a condemnation of the world.  Abel, Enoch, Noah–all three were equally rejected and despised by the world, because they condemned its works.  God grant that the life of his believing children may be so clear and bright, that the world may feel itself condemned by them!  (Andrew Murray, The Holiest of All, 435)

 

Black never seems so black as when white is put beside it.  The man of faith rebukes the world just by his living, even if he never utters a word of reproach.  A young man of Athens told Socrates, “I hate you, because every time I meet you, you show me what I am.”  (John MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur NT Commentary: Hebrews, 323)

 

The world idolizes strength.  Jesus said God demonstrates his strength through people’s weakness.  The world values large numbers.  Jesus chose a small group to be his disciples and often ignored the crowds to focus on individuals.  The world seeks happiness.  Jesus said blessed are they that mourn.  The world is attracted to large, spectacular performances.  Jesus said his kingdom would be like a mustard seed.  The world does good deeds in order to win people’s praise.  Jesus said, do your good deeds in secret, because the Father will see them and give a reward.  The world uses slick marketing campaigns to attract people.  Jesus said no one can come to him unless the Father draws them.  Over and over again Jesus rejected human reasoning in favor of God’s wisdom.  What is the difference between human reasoning and God’s wisdom?  Eph 3:20 says: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (NIV).  (Henry & Richard Blackaby, Spiritual Leadership, 66-7)

 

The Puritans grasped (as many of us today do not) that Christians are not called to be the nicest people in the world according to the world’s idea of what a nice person is like.  Instead, they are to be the Lord’s counterculture, living with different motives, purposes, and values from those of the world because of their loyalty to God.  When Christians behave in a way that society finds odd and judgmental (and Christians do not have to be actually judgmental before they are felt to be such), society will soon gang up against them in one way or another.  The Puritans experienced this–hence the malicious stereotypes of Puritans that still go the rounds among people who ought to know better–and consistent Christians experience it still. (J. I. Packer; Rediscovering Holiness, 262)

 

Modernity is simply unprecedented in its power to remake human appetites, thinking processes, and values.  It is, to put it in biblical terms, the worldliness of Our Time.  For worldliness is that system of values and beliefs, behaviors and expectations, in any given culture that have at their center the fallen human being and that relegate to their periphery any thought about God.  Worldliness is what makes sin look normal in any age and righteousness seem odd.   Modernity is worldliness, and it has concealed its values so adroitly in the abundance, the comfort, and the wizardry of our age that even those who call themselves the people of God seldom recognize them for what they are.  (David Wells; God in the Wasteland, 29)

 

Noah stood alone in the midst of a hostile world.  Apart from the immediate members of his family, he could not find any support.  To believe in God amid fellow believers is relatively easy.  But to have no one to lean on except God is the true test of faith.  Noah believed and “in holy fear built an ark to save his family.”  On the one hand he expressed deep reverence to God, and on the other hand he was terrified because of the coming destruction.  He was filled with holy fear at the prospect of God’s judgment on the sinful world.  For if he had not believed God’s warning, he would not have been afraid.  His faith drove him to fear and to build.  Obediently he followed the instructions God gave him.  He constructed the ark and by doing so demonstrated his firm confidence in God.  His faith became his testimony that condemned the unbelieving world around him.  Noah’s faith stood diametrically opposed to the unbelief of the world.  (William Hendriksen & Simon J. Kistemaker, NT Commentary: Hebrews, 318-9)

 

The choice comes to every man either to listen to or to disregard the message of God.  He may live as if that message is of no importance or as if it is the most important thing in the world.  We may put it in another way–Noah was the man who heeded the warning of God; and because he heeded he was saved from disaster.  God’s warning comes to us in many ways.  It may come from conscience; it may come from some direct word of God to our souls; it may come from the advice or the rebuke of some good and godly man; it may leap out at us from God’s Book or challenge us in some sermon.  Wherever it comes from, we neglect it at our peril.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series, Hebrews, 141)

 

I think, also, that Abraham was sent to Canaan as a stranger to be a witness for God.  These people were soon to be destroyed, but their iniquity was not yet full.  They had another chance in the living of a man of God, a prophet of God, among them.  You, my Christian friend, are a stranger here, and you are living here for the good of those around you.  It may be that you may snatch some brand from the burning.  (Charles Spurgeon, Spurgeon Commentary: Hebrews, 340)

 

Abortions, “mercy killing,” using a woman or child to gratify sexual needs, active homosexuality—these are hardly new tendencies.  What is new is that in Western Judeo-Christian culture none of these things were considered acceptable behavior until we convinced ourselves that we are qualitatively no different from a community of overachieving amoebas.  Slowly society has been conditioned, and is continuing to be conditioned, to tolerate, accept, and even value such “modernity.” …Underneath its scientific facade, the doctrines of the evolutionary world view demand that the strong survive, the weak must move aside, and that ultimately none of it matters much. (D. James Kennedy; What Is God Like?, 122)

 

Noah’s story involves not one, but two great and tragic floods.  The world in Noah’s day was flooded with evil.  The number of those who remembered the God of creation, perfection, and love had dwindled to one family.  God’s response to the severe situation was a 120-year-long last chance, during which he had Noah build a graphic illustration of the judgment to come.  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Hebrews, 181)

 

But there are two conclusions with which I started this project (based on previous study and observation) which have been remarkably reinforced.  The first is that what is called “modernity” is essentially incompatible with Christian faithfulness, that what makes modern culture distinctively “modern” involves a rejection of important Christian beliefs and practices.  The second is that one of the greatest temptations faced by the Church and her leaders is the desire to be approved by the world, that the evangelistic motive can produce a dangerous preoccupation with “getting along,” with being “winsome.”  When the Church gives in to this temptation, the result is a form of cultural captivity in which the Church is simply a chaplain to some cultural status quo, reducing the consequences of faith to personal, “spiritual” matters, but incapable of encouraging a truly counter-cultural stance except at the margins. (Ken Myers, Mars Hill Audio Newsletter, July 2007)

 

II-  This world is not your home.  (Heb 11: 7, 13b-16; see also: Gn 23:4; 28:4; Jn 14:2-6; 17:14-16; Phil 3:20; Heb 13:14; Jam 4:4; 1 Pt 1:1, 17; 2:11; 2 Pt 1:4; 2:20; 3:13; 1 Jn 2:15-16)  

 

We are not at home in this world because we are made for a better one. — Vance Havner

 

The patriarchs didn’t care whether they inherited the land or not.  Their hopes were fixed on something infinitely greater than a piece of real estate.  They’d been promised a SPIRITUAL INHERITANCE which exceeded anything this world could offer.  They viewed their lives as a journey to that inheritance.  It was because of this that they gladly acknowledged themselves as pilgrims and strangers, not only in the land of Canaan, but in the whole world as well.  (C. S. Lovett, Lovett’s Lights on Hebrews, 258)

 

A worldly spirit in the Church or the Christian is a deadly disease:  it makes the life of faith impossible.  Let us count it our worst enemy, and live as foreigners, who seek the city which is to come.  (Andrew Murray, The Holiest of All, 440)

 

The second-century Letter to Diognetus described the Christians’ lifestyle in the following way:  They live in their own countries, but only as aliens.  They have a share in everything as citizens, and endure everything as foreigners.  Every foreign land is their fatherland, and yet for them every fatherland is a foreign land. . .It is true that they are “in the flesh,” but they do not live “according to the flesh.”  They busy themselves on earth, but their citizenship is in heaven.  They obey the established laws, but in their own lives they go far beyond what the laws require.  They love all [people], and by all [people] are persecuted.  They are unknown, and still they are condemned; they are put to death, and yet they are brought to life.  They are poor, and yet they make many rich; they are completely destitute, and yet they enjoy complete abundance.  They are dishonored, and in their very dishonor are glorified; they are defamed, and are vindicated.  They are reviled, and yet they bless; when they are affronted, they still pay due respect. . . Christians dwell in the world, but are not of the world.  (Simon Guillebaud, Choose Life, 365 Readings for Radical Disciples, 5-19)

 

The truth is, their true homeland was not on earth at all.  The better country on which they had set their hearts was the heavenly country.  The earthly Canaan and the earthly Jerusalem were but temporary object lessons pointing to the saints’ everlasting rest, the well-founded city of God.  (F. F. Bruce, The New International Commentary on the NT: Hebrews, 299)

 

The heavenly hope is reflected in the depiction of believers as already possessing a heavenly citizenship (Phil 3:20), with the result that they are sojourners in this world (1 Pt 2:11) awaiting their summons to a better land.  A similar outlook characterized the OT saints whose faith gave them assurance of things hoped for (Heb 11:1, 13).  Christ’s followers are in the world but not of it (Jn 17:14).  This does not imply isolation from unsaved society, making witness impossible, but only a determination not to be conformed to its ideals and manner of life.  Believers belong to the (coming) day, so they are challenged to live a life of sobriety and alertness, ready for participation in eschatological salvation (1 Thess 5:4-11; Rom 13:11-14).   They are expected as well to be sufficiently informed about the implications of their faith to be able to explain their hope to those who inquire about it (1 Pt 3:15). (Geoffrey W. Bromiley; The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Vol Two, 753)

 

The Christian Way—The Christian says, “Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists.   A baby feels hunger:  well, there is such a thing as food.   A duckling wants to swim:  well, there is such a thing as water.   Men feel sexual desire:  well, there is such a thing as sex.  If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.  If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud.  Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing.  If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage.  I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that other country and to help others do the same.  (C. S. Lewis; Mere Christianity, bk 3, ch 10, 120)

 

“I’m but a stranger here, Heav’n is my home,” we love to sing, but in life’s reality it’s often so different.  Eyes that should be raised heavenward are riveted on earth.  Feet that should be tramping toward Canaan’s shores are mired in earth’s swamps.  Hands that should be reaching for eternal treasures are wrapped around gaudy marbles.  Backs that should be straining in kingdom effort are bent over in valueless pursuit.  (Richard E. Lauersdorf, The People’s Bible: Hebrews, 137)

 

“This is why a continual desire for worldly pleasures often signifies that all is not well.  Some of this world’s pleasures, even in moderation, will undermine a Christian’s spiritual life.  If a married man wants to flirt with other girls, even in moderation, one assumes that there is something wrong with his marriage—of if not, that there soon will be!  So it is when a Christian flirts with worldliness.  The command is clear and uncompromising:

Come out from them,

and be separate from them, says the Lord,

and touch not nothing unclean;

then I will welcome you.  (2 Cor 6:17)

We are to abstain from every form of evil (2 Thess 5:22).” (Kenneth Prior; The Way of Holiness, 144)

 

Love to God will expel love to the world; love to the world will deaden the soul’s love to God.  “No man can serve two masters”:  it is impossible to love God and the world, to serve him and mammon.  Here is a most fertile cause of declension in Divine love; guard against it as you would fortify yourself against your greatest foe.  It is a vortex that has engulfed millions of souls; multitudes of professing Christians have been drawn into its eddy, and have gone down into its gulf.  (Octavius Winslow, Personal Declension and Revival of Religion in the Soul, 56)

 

The word for Abraham’s existence was dissonance–he never fit in.  His religion was different and far above that of the land.  He was a monotheist, and his neighbors were polytheistic pagans.  His standards of morality were rooted in the character of God, while theirs came from the gods they themselves had created.  His worldview invited repeated collisions with that of the inhabitants.  He was always living in conscious dissonance.  (R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word: Hebrews, vol. 2, 97-8)

 

A life of faith is not anti-cultural, but counter cultural.  Thus, a vibrant faith is always matched with a sense of disease, a pervasive in-betweenness, a sense of being a camper.  This does not mean, of course, that Abraham was separate from culture.  To the contrary, the Genesis records reveals he was deeply involved in the politics of the land.  But there was always that dissonance.  He was never at home!  (R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word: Hebrews, vol. 2, 98)

 

For, really, the naturalistic conclusion is unbelievable.  For one thing, it is only through trusting our own minds that we have come to know Nature herself.  If Nature when fully known seems to teach us (that is, if the sciences teach us) that our own minds are chance arrangements of atoms, then there must have been some mistake; for if that were so, then the sciences themselves would be chance arrangements of atoms and we should have no reason for believing in them.  There is only one way to avoid this deadlock.  We must go back to a much earlier view.  We must simply accept it that we are spirits, free and rational beings, at present inhabiting an irrational universe, and must draw the conclusion that we are not derived from it.  We are strangers here.  We come from somewhere else.  Nature is not the only thing that exists.  There is “another world”, and that is where we come from.  And that explains why we do not feel at home here.  (CS Lewis, “Living in an Atomic Age” Present Concerns, 78)

 

So the wisdom of Jesus is that we should “lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven” (6:20), where forces of nature and human evil cannot harm what we treasure.  That is to say, direct your actions toward making a difference in the realm of spiritual substance sustained and governed by God.  Invest your life in what God is doing, which cannot be lost.  (Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy, 205)

 

The people of this world seek after wealth, fame and pleasure.  They feel cheated and frustrated if they don’t achieve them.  The only way a man can be content as a NOBODY and have NOTHING in this world, is to be headed for something better beyond this world.  (C. S. Lovett, Lovett’s Lights on Hebrews, 259)

 

The word TENTS is to be set against the word CITY.  In a city the houses and buildings are constructed on foundations.  That is, they are permanent structures.  Tents, on the other hand, are temporary dwellings held by pegs in the sand.  The writer is using the tent vs city comparison to contrast the temporariness of life on earth with the permanent character of God’s invisible city.  By faith, Abraham SAW the eternal city, the permanent home of the believer.  To him that was the real world.  From then on nothing earthly could satisfy him.  While his body wandered about in the promised land, his soul longed for the eternal dwelling of the family of God.  (C. S. Lovett, Lovett’s Lights on Hebrews, 255)

 

The physical world is not our natural environment, we don’t really belong here.  As an astronaut must don a spacesuit for a journey in outer-space, so must a man put on an “earth-suit” (a physical body) in order to sojourn in this world.  Even the Lord Jesus had to put on an earth-suit to dwell among men.  Our true dwelling is with God.  We were designed for life in the spirit-world.  (C. S. Lovett, Lovett’s Lights on Hebrews, 260)

 

In the early Christian centuries many believers read a work now known as The Shepherd of Hermas.  It contained this highly relevant exhortation:  “You know. . . that as the servants of God. . . your city is far from this city.  If then you know your city in which you are going to dwell, why do you here prepare lands and costly establishments. . . Take heed, then, make no further preparations for yourself beyond a sufficient competence for yourself as though you were living in a foreign country.”  (K. Lake, The Apostolic Fathers, Loeb Classical Library II, 139-141)  (Raymond Brown, The Bible Speaks Today:  Hebrews, 209)

 

He was self-exiled from his home–a wanderer upon the face of the earth.  Yet, when called of God, it mattered not to him where he was bidden to go.  He seemed to say, “Appoint my way, great God.  It is for me not to ask the reason why, but to obey your command.”  (Charles Spurgeon, Spurgeon Commentary: Hebrews, 339-40)

 

Abraham never built a house; Isaac never lived anywhere but in a tent, and though Jacob tried to dwell in a settled habitation, he got into trouble through it, and he was bound still to be a tent dweller.  The reason why they lived in tents was because they wanted to show to all around them that they did not belong to that country.  (Charles Spurgeon, Spurgeon Commentary: Hebrews, 345)

 

Remember how David says to the Lord, “I am an alien with you, a sojourner like all my ancestors” (Ps 39:12).  That is a very singular expression:  “an alien with you.”  Blessed be God that it is not “an alien to you,” but “an alien with you.”  That is to say, God is a stranger here.  It is His own world, and He made it, but when Christ, who is the Son of God, and the Creator of the world, came into it, “He came to his own, and his own did not receive him” (Jn 1:11).  They soon made him feel that the only treatment that He would receive at their hands was this:  “this is the heir.  Come, let us kill him and the inheritance will be ours” (Mk 12:7).  There was no man who ever lived who was a truer man than was Christ the Lord, but there never was a man who was more unlike the rest of men.  He was a homely man, a home-loving man to the last degree, yet He was never at home.  This world was not His rest; He had nowhere even to lay His head, and what was true naturally was also true spiritually.  This world offered Christ no rest whatsoever.  (Charles Spurgeon, Spurgeon Commentary: Hebrews, 345-6)

 

III-  We live on earth sure of what we hope for and certain of the reward we do not yet see for those who earnestly seek God. (Heb 11:10-11, 16; see also: Mt 6:19-21; Acts 7:5; Rom 8:18-25; Eph 3:18-20; 1 Tm 6:18-19; Heb 6:15; 11:1; Jam 2:14-23; 1 Pt 1:3-9)  

 

Jesus is not against investment.  He is against bad investment—namely, setting your heart on the comforts and securities that money can afford in this world.  Money is to be invested for eternal yields in heaven— “Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven!”  (John Piper; Desiring God, 165)

 

The patriarchs discerned the fulfillment of God’s promises in the future.  In faith they welcomed this fulfillment, although from a distance.  That is, with their eyes of faith, they saw God’s goodness in fulfilling promises in his time.  But with their physical eyes they saw “that they were aliens and strangers on earth.”  (William Hendriksen & Simon J. Kistemaker, NT Commentary: Hebrews, 325)

 

The secularists of Jesus’ day summed up their philosophy like this:  “Eat, drink, and be merry.  For tomorrow you die.” Contrast that with Jesus’ words:  “Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.”  Think in terms of eternity.  Think of the long-range implications.  This touches us most directly, not simply in how we handle our bank accounts, but at the level of how we invest our lives.  Life is an investment and the question that modern man has to answer is, “Am I going to invest my life for short-term benefits or for long-term gains?  (R.C. Sproul; Lifeviews, 37)

 

It is a dangerous thing when a Christian begins to feel permanently settled in this world.  (R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word: Hebrews, vol. 2, 98)

 

Abraham trusted a God who could never be unfaithful and a promise which therefore could not remain unfulfilled.  When it comes to God and his promises, the word “impossible” does not belong in a Christian’s vocabulary.  (Richard E. Lauersdorf, The People’s Bible: Hebrews, 135)

 

We can become so shallow and “content” with the addiction to things that we cease to look for anything deeper and more satisfying (Deuteronomy).   We no longer groan (Romans 8) looking forward to a heavenly kingdom and a heavenly world (Hebrews and 1 or 2 Peter).  In fact, we can become so content with this world that we are dull and anaesthetized to all that God has for us.  We fail to be repentant because we are confident we have all that life can offer. — Pastor Keith

 

Abraham was raised in the sophisticated city of Ur.  Modern archeology tells us that this was a great city with a highly developed culture.  On top of that, the patriarch spent years at Haran, a remarkable trade center at the crossroads of the world.  Now why would a prosperous city-dweller, who was used to the finer things of life, give up all that and shift to living in tents in a strange land?  The only explanation is that he believed the astonishing promises of God.  (C. S. Lovett, Lovett’s Lights on Hebrews, 259)

 

Wait. . . didn’t Abraham make it to the Promised Land?  Didn’t Sarah have her promised child, Isaac?  Yes, but what they experienced in this life was merely a foretaste, a shadow of things to come.  Abraham didn’t receive the full promise, just a down payment.  Abraham and Sarah had only one child–the promise was for descendants “innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore” (11:12).  The land in which he sojourned was indeed the Promised Land, but he, Sarah, Isaac, and all their household lived there as “strangers and exiles on the earth” (11:13; cf. 1 Pt 2:11).  (Charles R. Swindoll, Swindoll’s Living Insights: Hebrews, 177)

 

Noah had preached apparently in vain, and yet he believed with no less dogged resolve.  The old man was not to be moved.  That ark of his would float; he knew it would.  The world would be destroyed; he was sure of it as sure as if he had seen it.  (Charles Spurgeon, Spurgeon Commentary: Hebrews, 331)

 

That unknown land was to be his inheritance, but all he ever owned of Canaan was a burial plot purchased when his beloved Sarah died (Gn 23).  God “gave him no inheritance there, not even a foot of ground,” Stephen recounted in Acts 7:5, marveling at the patriarch’s faith.  (Richard E. Lauersdorf, The People’s Bible: Hebrews, 133)

 

Tents have only pegs which are pulled up and moved.  Earthly cities have walls which stand longer and yet crumble.  But this city stands forever.  “The heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God,” the author describes it in 12:22 so that we cannot misunderstand.  To this heavenly home Abraham “was looking forward,” ever living and finally dying in expectation of it.  (Richard E. Lauersdorf, The People’s Bible: Hebrews, 134)

 

The call of God is ever accompanied by the promise; true faith in the promise is ever joined to obedience to the call.  Obedience is of the very essence of faith.  Faith is always the power by which a man gives himself up to an unseen object, and receives it into his heart and being.  It is in the very nature of things impossible, to receive God without receiving His will.  (Andrew Murray, The Holiest of All, 438)

 

He had never seen rain, because it probably did not exist before the Flood.  He had never seen a flood, since floods could not have occurred without rain.  Noah responded to God’s message by faith, “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Heb 11:1).  (John MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur NT Commentary: Hebrews, 319)

 

If we knew that Christ would be coming in a month, we would give full attention to forsaking sin, praying, witnessing, serving, and to all the other things of our heavenly Father’s business.  To devote a whole month entirely to the Lord would not be so hard if we knew that it would all be over that soon.  But to be about His business month after month, year after year, with His promises seemingly no nearer being fulfilled than when we were first saved, takes patience.  (John MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur NT Commentary: Hebrews, 330)

 

True pilgrims never think of going back; they know that whatever difficulties and trials lie ahead of them, there are far greater ones in “that land from which they went out.”  Bunyan’s Christian was quite resolved not to go back to the City of Destruction whatever perils he might have to face on his way to the Celestial City.  (Charles Spurgeon, Spurgeon Commentary: Hebrews, 346-7)

 

It is important to note that Abraham’s believing life began with an immediate act of obedience.  Faith and obedience being inseparable in man’s relation to God, Abraham would never have obeyed God’s call if he had not truly taken God at his word.  Abraham’s obedience was thus an outward evidence of his inward faith.  His obedience was so prompt that the Greek text presents Abraham as setting out on his journey while the word of God was still ringing in his years.  What is more, the text adds that he “obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.”  It was not until later that his destination was revealed to be the land of Canaan.  (R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word: Hebrews, vol. 2, 96-7)

 

Worship Point:  Worship the God of the Universe Who is never ashamed to be called your God when you live by obedient faith looking forward to treasures in heaven that come to those who earnestly seek Him.

 

Noah’s reverent obedience tells us that at the very heart of a life of obedience, there must be, and there always is, a holy reverence for God.  We need to beware of obedience that is unemotional, that leaves our hearts beating at the same rate as before we believed.  A reverent heart is a holy point of light in a dark world, for it is an obedient heart.  (R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word: Hebrews, vol. 2, 88)

 

Regardless of what we are in ourselves, if we trust Him, God is not ashamed to be called our God.  “Those who honor Me I will honor,” God says (1 Sm 2:30).  The patriarchs honored God, and God honored them.  Nothing is so honoring to Him as the life of faith.  In fact, nothing honors Him but the life of faith.  (John MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur NT Commentary: Hebrews, 334-5)

 

Faith always obeys!  It obeys with a reverential heart in ways eminently practical.  And true faith always acts!  Bringing this down to where we live, we understand that there was no way Noah could truly believe that the Flood was coming without doing what God told him to do to save his family.  And, therefore, we must ask ourselves if we truly believe God’s word–that he is coming in judgment–if we do nothing to bring salvation to those around us.  (R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word: Hebrews, vol. 2, 89)

 

They died in a state of trust, never having seen their descendants’ reception of the land.  Thus, the true object of their deepest desire was God himself and God’s city.  Consequently, “God is not ashamed to be called their God.”  (George H. Guthrie, The NIV Application Commentary: Hebrews, 379)

 

In these closing moments of this age, the Lord will have a people whose purpose for living is to please God with their lives.  In them, God finds His own reward for creating man.  They are His worshipers.  They are on earth only to please God, and when He is pleased, they also are pleased.

The Lord takes them farther and through more pain and conflicts than other men.  Outwardly, they often seem “smitten of God, and afflicted” (Is 53:4).  Yet to God, they are His beloved.  When they are crushed, like the petals of a flower, they exude a worship, the fragrance of which is so beautiful and rare that angels weep in quiet awe at their surrender.  They are the Lord’s purpose for creation.

One would think that God would protect them, guarding them in such a way that they would not be marred.  Instead, they are marred more than others.  Indeed, the Lord seems pleased to crush them, putting them to grief.  For in the midst of their physical and emotional pain, their loyalty to Christ grows pure and perfect.  And in the face of persecutions, their love and worship toward God become all-consuming.

Would that all Christ’s servants were so perfectly surrendered.   (Francis Frangipane, The Three Battlegrounds, 93-4)

 

Abraham knew the situation and that it was humanly impossible, but he came to faith.  Some people are under the impression that when a person has faith, he inwardly agrees to ignore the facts.  They see faith and facts as mutually exclusive.  But faith without reason is fideism, and reason without faith is rationalism.  In practice, there must be no reduction of faith to reason.  And likewise, there must be no reduction of reason to faith.  Biblical faith is a composite of the two.  Abraham did not take an unreasonable leap of faith.

How did Abraham come to such a massive exercise of faith?  He weighed the human impossibility of becoming a father against the divine impossibility of God being able to break his word and decided that since God is God, nothing is impossible.  In other words, he believed that “[God] is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (11:6, KJV).  Thus he became certain that God would do what he said–dynamic certitude!  (R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word: Hebrews, vol. 2, 99-100)

 

We are to rationally assess all of life.  We are to live reasonably.  When we are aware that God’s Word says thus-and-so, we are to rationally assess it.  Does God’s Word actually say that, or is it man’s fallible interpretation?  And if God’s Word does indeed say it, we must then be supremely rational, weighing the human impossibility against the divine impossibility of God being able to break his word.  (R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word: Hebrews, vol. 2, 100)

 

We are exhorted (12:28) to offer service well-pleasing to God with godly fear, because our God is a consuming fire.  It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.  How awfully and repeatedly our Epistle speaks of the fate of the disobedient.  Surely it becomes us, whose eyes have been opened, with godly fear to listen to God’s warnings, and then, under the mighty impulse of that motive, moved with godly fear, on some to have mercy with fear, snatching them out of the fire.  (Andrew Murray, The Holiest of All, 434)

 

Gospel Application:  Heaven is so amazing no one can ever do anything to earn it.  But God takes so much pleasure in His children who live by faith in the work of His Son Jesus, that He is delighted to give heaven to them as a gift.

 

According to Francis de Sales, these “foretastes of heavenly delight” are used by God to withdraw us from “earthly pleasures” and encourage us in the “pursuit of divine love.”

As unregenerate people, we operate out of the sensual, so God uses the senses to draw us to Him.  In time, however, He will withdraw the sensual support and the weaning process will begin.  (Gary L. Thomas, Seeking the Face of God, 185)

 

He who has faith has renounced his own righteousness.  If you put one atom of trust in yourself, you have no faith; if you place even a particle of reliance upon anything else but what Christ did, you have no faith.  If you trust in your works, then your works are antichrist, and Christ and antichrist can never go together.  Christ will have all or nothing; He must be a whole Savior, or none at all.  (Charles Spurgeon, Spurgeon Commentary: Hebrews, 332)

 

If a man says he has faith, and has no works, he lies.  If any man declares that he believes on Christ, and yet does not lead a holy life, he makes a mistake.  For while we do not trust in good works, we know that faith always begets good works.  Faith is the father of holiness.  (Charles Spurgeon, Spurgeon Commentary: Hebrews, 333)

 

Spiritual Challenge:  No matter what you may suffer or be asked to endure, be so heavenly minded that you are of unimaginable earthly good.

 

In one sense it is possible “to be so heavenly minded that we are of no earthly good.”  But in a much deeper sense, it is impossible to be of any real earthly good unless we are heavenly minded.  Only the heavenly minded will have the patience to continue faithful in God’s work when it becomes hard, unappreciated, and seemingly unending.  There is no greater cure for discouragement, fatigue, or self-pity than to think of being in the presence of the Lord one day and of spending eternity with Him.  We should make no apology for being heavenly minded.  (John MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur NT Commentary: Hebrews, 331)

 

Hope is one of the Theological virtues.  This means that a continual looking forward to the eternal world is not (as some modern people think) a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do.  It does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is.  If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next.  The Apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the Slave Trade, all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven.  It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.  (C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, 118-9)

 

If we look continually at the things of this world–its trials, troubles, and struggles on the one hand, or its money, fame, and pleasures on the other, then we cannot help becoming absorbed in the impatient desires of the flesh.  But if we keep focusing on heaven, on God, on Jesus Christ, then we do not care about what goes on here.  (John MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur NT Commentary: Hebrews, 331)

 

We see the principle illustrated that “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (v. 1); for the seeing from afar of which we read here is the inward seeing of faith, not the outward faculty of physical sight.  Christ himself spoke to precisely the same effect when he said: “Abraham rejoiced that he was to see my day; he saw it and was glad” (Jn 8:56).  So real were God’s promises to him that their fulfillment, though not yet, was as certain to him as something already and inalienably possessed.  Thus the existential power of faith made the distant hope a present reality, and these believers of the ancient world “saw” and “greeted” the promised consummation, even, and indeed especially, in the hour of death, as though already face to face with it.  (Philip Edgcumbe Hughes, A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews, 478)

 

Christians whose faith does not extend to heaven will have their eyes on the things of this world and will wonder why they are not happier in the Lord.  Nothing in this life, including God’s most abundant earthly blessings, will give a believer the satisfaction and joy that come with absolute assurance of future glory.  (John MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur NT Commentary: Hebrews, 334)

 

Say not that you cannot understand what it is to come out and forsake all.  You do not need to know.  You need to know something else–that you have a God, who is watching and guiding you, and working out in you a character fit for heaven and eternity.  The one great mark of that character, of likeness to the Son and fitness for heaven, is very absolute surrender to God, to let Him be all.  Of that surrender deep humility, that only wants to obey and to trust, is the first essential.  Therefore say to God, that at every cost, and in any way–you are ready to obey.  He will never disappoint the trust of a soul fully committed to Him and His will.  (Andrew Murray, The Holiest of All, 439)

 

In order for faith to be valid, it must visibly radiate itself in good deeds.  If you really believe in God, there will be evidence of it in the way you live, in the things you say, and in the things you do.  (John MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur NT Commentary: Hebrews, 317)

 

Their outspoken witness is a challenge to our guilty silence.  The majority of our contemporaries live as though this world is everything.  They have no eternal dimension to their thinking whatever.  Christians have the responsibility of reminding them, winsomely but directly, that there is a life beyond this one and that after death comes judgment (9:27).  (Raymond Brown, The Bible Speaks Today:  Hebrews, 208)

 

I have argued that the key to fighting sin is to battle unbelief, and keep the fire of faith in God’s promises red hot.  The power of sin is the false promise that it will bring more happiness than, is called, in Hebrews 11:24-26, living “by faith”: “By faith Moses…[chose] to endure ill-treatment with the people of God, [rather] than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin…for he was looking to the reward.”  Therefore the cry of this book, to fight sin, is a cry to pursue a joy superior to anything sin could offer.  It is the cry of Christian Hedonism.  (John Piper, Future Grace, 386)

 

The story of Noah demonstrates, finally, the simultaneousness of judgment and salvation; for the saving of his household and the condemnation of the unbelieving world took place at the same time and by the same means.  What was a means of salvation was also a means of destruction:  the water which overwhelmed the scornful also supported the ark and those who were in it.  In the hour of judgment there is security for those whose life is hid with Christ in God (Col 3:3).  Thus the eight persons in the ark were “saved through water” (1 Pt 3:20).  The sacrament of the Eucharist was ordained by Christ as a means of grace, but to the unworthy recipient, who profanes the body and blood of the Lord, it becomes instead a means of condemnation, so that “he eats and drinks judgment upon himself” (1 Cor 11:27ff.).  The day of Chris’s Parousia will be not only the consummating moment of salvation for those who are his but also the moment of final judgment for those who persist in unbelief.  (Philip Edgcumbe Hughes, A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews, 465)

 

Delayed obedience is disobedience.  I wish some Christians, who put off duty, would remember this.  Continued delay of duty is a continuous sin.  If I do not obey the divine command, I sin.  Every moment that I continue in that condition, I repeat the sin.  This is a serious matter.  If a certain act is my duty at this hour, and I leave it undone, I have sinned; but it will be equally incumbent upon me during the next hour.  And if I still refuse, I disobey again, and so on till I do obey.  (Charles Spurgeon, Spurgeon Commentary: Hebrews, 339)

 

So What?: Chapter 11 is teaching us how to live by faith with love, power, influence, confidence, significance, meaning and purpose without fear, worry or shame.   But, we must declare chapter 11 on our agenda, values and trusting in ourselves.   Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith.  (Heb 10:23; 12:1-2)

 

One of the surest marks of the demise of worldliness is a change in desires, in loves.  As we grow in Christ and in love for Him, our love for the things of the world diminishes.  They will simply lose their attraction.  We will not want to do them like we used to.  The pilgrimage of faith begins by separating ourselves from the world, and as we concentrate on Jesus and fellowship with Him, soon we do not care about the things we once loved so much.  When we slip and engage in them, we hate what we do in the weakness of the flesh (cf. Rom 7:14-25).  (John MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur NT Commentary: Hebrews, 329)

 

To the question which is so often asked, Why we do not experience that life more mightily, there can be but one answer:  We do not allow God in Christ to work it in us; we do not believe in the continual indwelling and working of the Holy Spirit.  Even as Sarah failed when she sought for the promised son by giving Hagar to Abraham, we fail because we seek by our effort to do what God will not allow any but Himself to do.  Let us, like Sarah, come back from our self-devised ways, and enter by the new and living way; the way of death to nature and to self; the way of life through the Holy Spirit, into the life which God alone can maintain.  (Andrew Murray, The Holiest of All, 443)

 

Giving up the old life is one of the greatest obstacles to coming to Christ, and is also one of the greatest obstacles to faithful living once we are in Christ.  From the perspective of the old life and the old nature the new life in Christ can appear dull and unexciting.  When we think this way we fail to understand that, once we become a Christian, we are given a new set of values, interests, and desires–which we cannot experience in advance.  We cannot “see” the blessings and satisfaction of life in Christ before we trust Him as Lord and Savior.  (John MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur NT Commentary: Hebrews, 328)

 

Two great enemies obtained dominion over man when Adam sinned–the world and self.  Of the world Christ says, “The Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him” (Jn 14:17).  Worldliness is the great hindrance that keeps believers from living a spiritual life.  Of self Christ said, “Let him deny himself” (Mk 8:34).  Self, in all its forms–self-will, self-pleasing, self-confidence–renders life in the power of the Spirit impossible.  (Andrew Murray, Receiving Power from God, 27)

 

There are only two ways to live.  One way, by far the most common, is to live by sight, to base everything on what you can see.  This is the empirical way.  The other way, far less common, is to live by faith, to base your life primarily and ultimately on what you cannot see.  The Christian way, of course, is the faith way.  We have never seen God, or Jesus Christ, or heaven, or hell, or the Holy Spirit.  We have never seen any of the people who wrote the Bible or an original manuscript of the Bible.  Though we see the results of them, we have never seen any of the virtues that God commands or any of the graces that He gives.  Yet we live in the conviction of all these things by faith.  We bank our earthly lives and our eternal destiny on things which we have never seen.  That is the way the people of God have always lived.  (John MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur NT Commentary: Hebrews, 326)

 

Augustine was right when he said that we love the truth when it enlightens us, but we hate it when it convicts us.  Maybe we can’t handle the truth.  (Norman L. Geisler & Frank Turek, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist, 36)

 

We humans have a fatal tendency to try to adjust the truth to fit our desires rather than adjusting our desires to fit the truth.  (Norman L. Geisler & Frank Turek, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist, 32)

 

Salvation brings separation from the world.  The Lord works in the heart the total willingness to leave behind everything that is not pleasing to Him.  He cannot lead us into new ways of living until He leads us out of the old.  (John MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur NT Commentary: Hebrews, 328)

 

Faith is a purifying grace: “Purifying their hearts by faith,” Acts 15:9; “Sanctified by faith that is in me,” 26:18.  It is a principle holy in its nature and tendency; he is most holy who has most faith; he who has least faith is most exposed to the assaults of his inbred corruptions.  If there is in any child of God a desire for Divine conformity, for more of the spirit of Christ, more weanedness, and crucifixion, and daily dying, this should be his ceaseless prayer,–“Lord, increase my faith.”  Faith in Jesus checks the power of sin, slays the hidden corruption, and enables the believer to “endure as seeing him who is invisible.”  (Octavius Winslow, Personal Declension and Revival of Religion in the Soul, 72)

 

Men stumble over the truth from time to time, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened.  —Winston Churchill

 

The fact that only eight persons came into the ark means that only eight wanted to be saved on God’s terms.  God does not wish “for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Pt 3:9).  God’s nature does not change.  His will in Peter’s time was the same in Noah’s time.  Only those perished in the Flood who rejected God’s way of salvation.  (John MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur NT Commentary: Hebrews, 320)

 

The difference between Noah and everyone around him was not a difference in the amount of light but a difference in response to it.  (John MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur NT Commentary: Hebrews, 322)

 

His faith wasn’t founded on a subjective feeling about God’s will, a billowy cloud formation pointing like an arrow, or a vague message from a fortune-teller staring into a crystal ball.  The Bible says “the LORD had spoken to him” (Gn 12:4), and “the LORD appeared to Abram” (Gn 12:7).  This is where true faith rests–on the clear revelation of God (Rom 10:17).  (Charles R. Swindoll, Swindoll’s Living Insights: Hebrews, 175)

 

The preeminent person of Christ deserves our wholehearted faithfulness.  (Charles R. Swindoll, Swindoll’s Living Insights: Hebrews, 165)

 

Worldliness may be an act, but primarily it is an attitude.  It is wanting to do things that are sinful or selfish or worthless, whether we actually do them or not.  It is wanting men’s praise whether we ever receive it or not.  It is outwardly holding to high standards of conduct, but inwardly longing to live like the rest of the world.  The worst sort of worldliness is religious worldliness, because it pretends to be godly.  It holds to God’s standards outwardly (usually adding a few of its own), but it is motivated by selfish, worldly desires.  It is pretentious and hypocritical.  This was the Pharisees’ great sin, as Jesus so often pointed out.  (John MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur NT Commentary: Hebrews, 328-9)

 

Worldliness is not so much what we do as what we want to do.  It is not determined so much by what our actions are as by where our heart is.  Some people do not commit certain sins only because they are afraid of the consequences, others because of what people will think, others from a sense of self-righteous satisfaction in resisting–all the while having a strong desire for these sins.  It is the desire for sin that is the root of worldliness, and from which the believer is to be separated.  (John MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur NT Commentary: Hebrews, 329)

 

The root meaning of holiness is separation, being set apart for God.  (John MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur NT Commentary: Hebrews, 329)

 

(Heb 11:24-26).  Moses did not forsake Egypt because he had to or because he felt obligated to, but because he wanted to.  Egypt had lost its attraction.  It could not compare with what Christ offered.  In this regard the spiritually mature Christian is like the worldly person–he does what he wants to do.  The great difference is that the mature Christian wants what God wants.  (John MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur NT Commentary: Hebrews, 329)

  Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. —Luke 6:22

 JESUS:

REJECTED

 

 

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