“Faith and Delayed Gratification” – Hebrews 11:23-28

February 3rd. 2019

Hebrews 11:23-28

“Faith and Delayed Gratification”

Aux. Texts: Exodus 2:1-10

Call to Worship: Psalm 73

Service Orientation: Every day we choose to live by faith or by sight.  Faith pleases God, leads to the life that is truly life; but means we have to wait.  Sight means temporary pleasure here and now; but leads to death.

 

Bible Memory Verse for the Week:  We live by faith, not by sight. — 2 Corinthians 5:7

 

Background Information:

  • Nobody in the world was more marked out by Providence in his birth, education, and actions than Moses. Yet Moses lived and worked by faith.  (John Owen, Crossway Classic Commentaries: Hebrews, 230)
  • There is more about Moses than any other individual in this 11th chapter of Hebrews. No less than five definite actings of his faith are there recorded.  (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 813)
  • Moses has been presented already as a stellar example of faithfulness in 3:1-6. In that passage the author uses the lawgiver as a picture of “servant faithfulness,” who fulfilled his duty to God as leader of the Israelites.  The author focused on the greatness of Moses to highlight the even greater status of Jesus as God’s faithful Son.  (George H. Guthrie, The NIV Application Commentary: Hebrews, 380)
  • We may fairly say that both Christians and Jews honored both Abraham and Moses; but whereas the Jews tended to put Moses in the higher place and to see Abraham as one who kept the law before Moses, the Christians, with their emphasis on faith, preferred to put Abraham in the more exalted place and see Moses as one who followed in the steps of Abraham’s faith. The author is certainly interested in the way Moses exercised faith, and he gives five instances of faith in connection with the great lawgiver.  (Frank E. Gæbelein, Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 12, 125)
  • (v. 23) There was a charm about his features, a remarkable glory about his face, and something superhuman, probably, since he was fair to God. A spiritual air floated about the child’s face, as if he bore some glimmerings of the glory of Sinai, of the wondrous shepherd-lawgiver who led the people 40 years through the wilderness.  (Charles Spurgeon, Spurgeon Commentary: Hebrews, 359)
  • (v. 23) We have no way of knowing how much they knew about God’s plan for the destiny of their son, but it was enough for them to know that He had a special reason for Moses’ protection. (John MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur NT Commentary: Hebrews, 348)
  • (v. 23) Heb 11:23 distinctly affirms that it was “by faith” the parents of Moses acted, and this it is which explains their conduct. Now Rom 10:17 tells us, “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God”:  thus Amram and Jochebed must have received a Divine revelation (not recorded in the OT), and this word from God formed the foundation of their confidence, and supplied the motive-power of what they did.  It is true they knew from the prophecy given to Abram (Gn 15) that the time for the deliverance of Israel from Egypt was drawing near, as they also knew from the prediction of Joseph (Gn 50:24) that God was going to undertake for His people.  Yet we are persuaded that Heb 11:23 refers to something more definite and specific.  Most probably the Lord made known to these parents that their child was to be the promised deliverer, and furnished them beforehand with a description of him.  (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 784)
  • (v. 24) The tense of the verb refused (ērnēsato) points to a specific act of choice. It illustrates faith acting in a crisis, although it need not imply the absence of considerable premeditation.  What the writer carefully notes is the quality of faith which could make a decision of this kind.  In his speech Stephen makes no reference to Moses’ faith, but stresses his disappointment that the Israelites did not share his conviction that God would use him to deliver them.  Faith in this case presupposes a firm conviction in Moses of God’s call to a most difficult task.  (Donald Guthrie, Tyndale NT Commentaries: Hebrews, 239)
  • (vss. 25-26) Verses 25 and 26 are obviously parallel, and explain one another. In the former we are told that, Moses “chose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.”  Thus, there is a threefold parallelism:  the “reproach of v. 26 agrees with and is interpreted by the “suffering affliction” of v. 25, “the Christ” of v. 26 corresponds with and is defined by “the people of God” in v. 25; and the “treasures of Egypt” balances with and explains the “pleasures of sin for a season.”  (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 802)
  • (v. 26) Disgrace suffered for Christ’s sake Moses valued as priceless honor. Yes, Moses knew about Christ.  He himself said so in Dt 18:15 when he urged Israel to look for and listen to that greater Prophet who was coming.  Jesus also said so when he told the Pharisees in Jn 5:46, “Moses wrote about me” with the eye of faith Moses saw the coming Christ and identified with him by joining his people.  (Richard E. Lauersdorf, The People’s Bible: Hebrews, 143)
  • (v. 26) Christ had a being before He was born of the virgin: we read of Israel “tempting Christ” in the wilderness (1 Cor 10:9).  From the beginning, Christ was Head of the Church, and in His own person led His own people, and was present in their midst, under the name of “the Angel of the Covenant.”  Let the interested reader carefully ponder the terms of Ex 23:20-22, and it should be plain that no created “angel” is there in view.  Thus, whatever that people suffered, it was the reproach “of Christ,” who had taken them under His protection.  There was a communion between Christ and His people, as real and as intimate as that union and communion which exists between Him and His people now:  weigh well Isa 63:9, Zech 2:8, and compare with Acts 9:4, Mt 25:34 and clear proof of this will be obtained.  (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 801)
  • (v. 26) Discoveries such as the tomb of King Tutankhamen, who lived only a hundred or so years after Moses, have shown us how vastly rich Egypt was at its peak. Moses had access to a great deal of wealth, and likely had much in his own possession.  He had all the things the world holds dear.  He must have been strongly tempted to hold on to them; but he did not.  (John MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur NT Commentary: Hebrews, 353)
  • (v. 26) The Messiah has always been identified with His people. In a very real sense, when Israel suffered, Messiah suffered, and when Moses suffered, He suffered.  In their afflictions on His behalf, He was afflicted.  A comparison of Mt 2:15 with Hosea 11:1 shows that Messiah is identified intimately with His people.  Hosea refers to Israel, Matthew to Jesus Christ.  Both Israel and Christ are the son called out of Egypt.  (John MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur NT Commentary: Hebrews, 354)
  • (v. 26) Moses, then, like his parents, believed the promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as to Israel being God’s peculiar people, as to their ultimately being a numerous and prosperous nation, and as to Canaan being their inheritance. He believed also the prediction of their deliverance from the land in which they were for a long term of years to endure severe oppression, and that God would judge, or punish, their oppressors.  (John Brown, Geneva Series Commentaries: Hebrews, 547)
  • (v. 27) The people of Israel did not understand his mission, but he did. They were slaves in the land that had once highly honored them because of Joseph.  Moses was now in a position similar to Joseph’s, but God had a much different work for him to do.  Joseph used Egypt’s power for the good of God’s chosen people.  Moses would have to oppose Egypt’s power for the same purpose.  (John MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur NT Commentary: Hebrews, 349)
  • (v. 28) On the eve of the Exodus from their slavery in Egypt and after a series of powerful signs and wonders, God commanded Moses and the Israelites to do something unusual. They were to kill an unblemished male sheep or goat, apply its blood to the doorposts of their houses, and eat its meat in haste.  This was to be their “Passover” observance, as God would go through the land of Egypt that night and kill the firstborn of every house in Egypt that didn’t have the sign of blood on the door (Ex 12:5-13).  I can imagine more than a few Israelites looking cross-eyed (or just plain cross) at Moses and saying, “You want us to do what with the blood?”  (Charles R. Swindoll, Swindoll’s Living Insights: Hebrews, 186)
  • (v. 28) That sacrifice, and especially the sacrifice of the Passover, was a divinely intended emblem of the manner in which our guilt was to be expiated, and our salvation obtained, by the obedience to the death of the incarnate Son of God, is most clearly taught in the Holy Scriptures. (John Brown, Geneva Series Commentaries: Hebrews, 560)
  • In the remainder of Hebrews 11, we see a sharp contrast between the triumphs enjoyed by people of faith (11:23-35) and the tragedies endured by people of faith (11:35-38). By faith some experienced stunning victories–like Moses, Joshua, Gideon, and David.  But there was never constant victory without struggle.  In fact, this long list of believers throughout history, who are rightly commended for their faith, “did not receive what was promised” (11:39).  Yet all endured both triumph and tragedy, deliverance and affliction, as they awaited a day yet future when all men and women of faith would finally be made “perfect” (11:40).  (Charles R. Swindoll, Swindoll’s Living Insights: Hebrews, 184)

 

The questions to be answered are . . . Why does the author of Hebrews introduce Moses and his parents when illustrating what it means to live by faith?   And how does understanding delayed gratification help us understand faith?

 

Answers: Moses and his parents had to choose to base their choices on the here and now or on the future promises of God.  Like them, we must be willing to set aside temporary, ungodly, sensual pleasures to pursue the eternal, God-honoring, unimaginably delightful, future promises from God.

 

The Word for the Day is again . . . Faith.

 

A man is known by his choice.  Do you do evil for a little profit?  Do you avoid duty because of some trifling inconvenience?  Are you turned out of the way because of reproach?  (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 793)

 

Christian living involves making right decisions.  You can note the maturity of a Christian by the decisions he makes.  Holiness is making right decisions, carnality is making wrong ones.  Our Christian living rises or falls in maturity and holiness on the basis of the decisions we make.  When Satan tempts us, we decide either to say yes or no.  When we have opportunity to witness, we either take advantage of it or we do not.  We decide whether or not to take time to read the Bible and to pray.  It is not a matter of having time but of taking time, and taking time requires a decision.  In business we often have to choose between making more money and being honest and ethical, or between getting ahead and giving enough time to our families and to the Lord’s work.  Virtually everything we do involves a decision.  (John MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur NT Commentary: Hebrews, 346)

 

Right choices are made on the basis of right faith.  Often we cannot see the consequences of our choices.  Satan tries to make his way seem attractive and good and God’s way seem hard and unenjoyable.  When we know God’s will in a matter, we choose it by faith.  We know it is the right choice because it is God’s will, even before we see the results.  God’s will is the only reason we need.  When we choose God’s way, we put up the shield of faith, and the temptations and allurements of Satan are deflected (Eph 6:16). . . . The opposite of choosing God’s way is always Satan’s way, and not believing God is believing Satan.  Whenever we sin, we believe Satan; we believe that his way is better than God’s.  We believe the father of lies above the Father of truth.  (John MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur NT Commentary: Hebrews, 347)

 

How does understanding delayed gratification help us understand faith?:

I-  To choose to live by faith in God means trusting in the eternal, God-honoring, unimaginably delightful future and delayed promises of God over the immediate, ungodly, sensual, but temporary pleasures of the flesh. (Heb 11:25; see also: Psa 16:11; 37:16; Prov 14:12; 15:16; 16:19, 25; Mt 6:19-21; 2 Cor 4:16-18; Gal 5:24; Phil 3:18-21; 1 Tim 6:6-19; Jam 4:4; 5:1-6; 1 Jn 2:15-17)

 

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. —Jim Elliot

 

Where your pleasure is, there is your treasure; where your treasure is, there is your heart; where your heart is, there is your happiness.  —Augustine.

 

From the worldly standpoint, he was sacrificing everything for nothing.  But from the spiritual standpoint, he was sacrificing nothing for everything.  (John MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur NT Commentary: Hebrews, 350)

 

We have here the great cause of the weakness of faith in our days.  There is no separation from the world.  So many Christians seek to have as much of its pleasure and honor and riches as they possibly can, consistently with their profession of religion.  In such an atmosphere faith is stifled.  Many hardly believe, or never remember, that the world, with its arts and culture and prosperity, amid all its religious professions, is still the same world that rejected Christ.  (Andrew Murray, The Holiest of All, 459)

 

It took faith for Moses to give up his place in the palace, but he could do it because he saw the transitory nature of great wealth and prestige.  It is easy to be deceived by the temporary benefits of wealth, popularity, status, and achievement, and to be blind to the long-range benefits of God’s kingdom.  How many Christians today would choose personal sacrifice or oppression rather than enjoy the fleeting pleasure of sin?  Faith helps us look beyond the world’s value system to see the eternal values of God’s kingdom.  We must choose friends, careers, and lifestyles that please God.  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Hebrews, 194)

 

Self-denial is not just saying no to outward actions but is a mortification of the desires and affections of the mind that wants to place a value on things in life, especially the things of this world that oppose spiritual things.  Moses crucified his heart to his outward enjoyments, thinking of them as rubbish in comparison with Christ.  (John Owen, Crossway Classic Commentaries: Hebrews, 230)

 

We are often put to the test of having to choose between God and things, duty and pleasure, heeding our conscience or gratifying the flesh.  The presence and vigor of faith is to be proved by our self-denial!  It is easy to speak contemptuously of the world and earthly things, but what is my first care?  Is it to seek God or temporal prosperity?  To please Him or self?  If I am hankering after an increase in wages, or a better position, and am fretful because of disappointment, it is a sure proof that a worldly spirit governs me.  (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 790)

 

My experience is that when I surround myself with all of the things that make me comfortable, I require little if any power from God.  Surrounded with everything I think I need, involved with my own means, methods, strategies, and plans, I become a product of my own will and wisdom.  (Pete Wilson, Empty Promises, 178)

 

Satan’s realm of influence is in the human soul–the center of the mind, will, and emotions.  The only power the devil has in this world is the power we turn over to him through our choices and actions.  When we rebel, when we sin, when we follow our fleshly desires rather than the Holy Spirit, we empower the kingdom of darkness. (Jentezen Franklin; The Spirit of Python, 46)

 

The greatest adversary of love to God is not his enemies but his gifts.  And the most deadly appetites are not for the poison of evil, but for the simple pleasures of earth.  For when these replace an appetite for God himself, the idolatry is scarcely recognizable, and almost incurable.  (John Piper, A Hunger for God: Desiring God Through Fasting and Prayer, 14)

 

A culture obsessed with technology will come to value personal convenience above almost all else, and ours does . . . religion tends to be strongest when life is hard . . . a person whose main difficulty is not crop failure but video breakdown has less need of the consolations and promises of religion.  (Robert Bork; Slouching Towards Gomorrah)

 

Imagine for a moment that you are alive at the end of the Civil War.  You are living in the South, but your home is really in the North.  While in the South you have accumulated a good amount of Confederate currency.  Suppose you know that the North is going to win the war soon.  What will you do with your Confederate money?

If you were smart, there is only one answer to the question.  You would cash in your Confederate currency for U.S. currency–the only money that will have value once the war is over.  You would keep only enough Confederate currency to meet your basic needs for that short period until the war was over.

The currency of this world will be worthless at our death or at Christ’s return, both of which are imminent.  For us to accumulate vast earthly treasures in the face of the inevitable future is the equivalent to stockpiling Confederate money.

The only currency of value in heaven is our present service and generous giving to God’s kingdom.  Jim Elliot, the martyred missionary, said it this way, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”  (Howard Dayton, Your Money Counts, 76)

 

If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith.  Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak.  We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea.  We are far too easily pleased.

We must not be troubled by unbelievers when they say that this promise of reward makes the Christian life a mercenary affair.  There are different kinds of reward.  There is the reward which has no natural connection with the things you do to earn it, and is quite foreign to the desires that ought to accompany those things.  Money is not the natural reward of love; that is why we call a man mercenary if he marries a woman for the sake of her money.  But marriage is the proper reward for a real lover, and he is not mercenary for desiring it.  A general who fights well in order to get a peerage is mercenary; a general who fights for victory is not, victory being the proper reward of battle as marriage is the proper reward of love.  The proper rewards are not simply tacked on to the activity for which they are given, but are the activity itself in consummation.  (C. S. Lewis; THE WEIGHT OF GLORY; Preached originally as a sermon in the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Oxford ‘, on June 8, 1941)

 

He knew that all the pleasures of Egyptian nobility would last only a short season, if he became ruler of Egypt himself.  But the reward of God, on the other hand, he believed to be eternal.  So it was a matter of trading the temporary for the eternal.  To him, the shame of being identified with the coming Messiah (Christ), was greater wealth than all the treasures of Egypt.  If it be asked why our writer uses the word Christ in connection with Moses, the answer is that “Christ” is the Greek word for Messiah.  Besides, the Hebrew nation belongs to Jesus.  He is the One Who appeared to Abraham and called the nation into existence.  He is the ROCK that followed them in the wilderness and led them as a pillar of cloud and fire.  He IS the King of the Jews.  So for Moses to be identified with Israel, was to be identified with her Messiah (Christ).  (C. S. Lovett, Lovett’s Lights on Hebrews, 271-3)

 

It is the property of a gracious heart to prefer the greatest suffering–physical, mental, or social–to the least sin; and when sin is committed, it is repudiated, sorrowed over, confessed, and forsaken.  When “suffering” is inflicted upon saints by persecutors, the offense is done unto us; but “sin” is committed against God!  “Sin” separates from God (Isa 59:2), “suffering” drives the Christians nearer to God.  “Affliction” only affects the body, “sin” injures the soul.  “Affliction” is from God (Heb 12:5-11), but “sin” is from the devil.  But naught save a real, spiritual, supernatural faith will prefer suffering affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.  (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 794)

 

There is a real and practical oneness between the Head and the members of His mystical body, and that practical oneness consists in self-sacrifice.  Unless the spirit of self-sacrifice rules my heart, I am no Christian!  (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 797)

 

A God-given faith is occupied with something better than the things of sight and sense, and therefore does it discern clearly the utter vanity of worldly greatness and honor.  Faith has to do with God, and when the mind be truly stayed upon Him, neither the riches nor the pleasures of earth can attract, still less enthrall.  (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 798)

 

Material things become snares if employed intemperately.  God has granted us permission to “use” the things of this world, but has forbidden the “abuse” of them (1 Cor 7:31).  Temporal blessings become a curse if they are allowed to hinder us from the discharge of duty.  All associations must be severed which deter us from having fellowship with the saints.  Personal ease and comfort is to be set aside when our brethren are “suffering afflictions” and need a helping hand.  (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 800)

 

Moses is seen not as a revolutionary but as a man of faith deliberately classing himself with God’s own, even though doing that meant ill treatment.  “The pleasures of sin” does not mean Moses saw himself as a dissolute rake while at court.  It implies rather that once he saw where God’s call lay, it would have been sin for him to turn away from it and align himself with the Egyptians.  There would have been pleasures, but they would have been enjoyed only at the expense of disobeying God.  Moreover, they would have been purely temporary.  Moses had a sense of values.  He could estimate at their true worth the suffering and rejection involved in aligning himself with God’s people as contrasted with the transitory pleasures of the godless court.  (Frank E. Gæbelein, Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 12, 126)

 

A person that eats and drinks too much does not feel such effects from it as those do who live in notorious instances of gluttony and intemperance; but yet his course of indulgence, though it be not scandalous in the eyes of the world nor such as torments his own conscience, is a great and constant hindrance to his improvement in virtue; it gives him eyes that see not and ears that hear not; it creates a sensuality in the soul, increases the power of bodily passions, and makes him incapable of entering into the true spirit of religion.  (William Law, A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life, pp. 191-92)

 

Disobeying had many attractions.  Among other things, it would have been a lot easier and a lot more enjoyable in the short run.  It is hard enough to stop seeking worldly things.  It is even harder to give them up once we have them, and Moses had a great many of them by the time he was forty.  We have no reason to believe that he was ever involved in any immoral practices, but he enjoyed the pleasures of an extremely comfortable life.  He had the best food, the best living quarters, the best recreation, the best of everything that his age could provide.  These were not sins in themselves.  Joseph had enjoyed the same pleasures in the same place, while being perfectly obedient to God.  But they would have been sin for Moses, had he decided to stay in the Egyptian court, and he forsook them for the sake of God’s call.  (John MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur NT Commentary: Hebrews, 352)

 

He no doubt wrestled with the tension between masquerading as an Egyptian in a life that wasn’t really his and embracing his true identity as a Hebrew, a member of the people of God.  Simply making the startling decision to be true to his outcast, Hebrew heritage required faith–turning his back on the material wealth and physical pleasures of Egypt to align with a class of slaves (11:24-25).  (Charles R. Swindoll, Swindoll’s Living Insights: Hebrews, 185)

 

Which troubles you the more:  suffering loss in the world, or displeasing God?  There are thousands of professing Christians who complain of their physical aches and pains, but how rarely do we hear any groaning over the body of sin and death!  When you are afflicted in the body, which is your dominant desire:  to be freed from the suffering, or for God to sanctify the suffering unto the good of your soul?  Ah, my reader, what real and supernatural difference is there between you and the moral worldling?  Is it only in your creed, what you believe with the intellect?  “The demons believe.”  (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 794)

 

There is both a negative and a positive side to faith.  First, a refusing, and then a choosing, and that order is unchanging.  There must be a “ceasing to do evil” before there can be a “learning to do well” (Isa 1:16, 17); there must be a “hating the evil” before there is a “loving the good” (Amos 5:15); there must be a “confessing and forsaking” of sin, before there is “mercy” (Prv 28:13).  The prodigal must leave the far country, before he can go to the Father (Lk 15).  (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 793)

 

The writer next comments on the reason why Moses made the choice he did.  He expresses it in another contrast–the superiority of abuse for Christ over the treasures of Egypt.  This is a strange and irrational superiority, which seems ludicrous in a materialistic age.  But part of the greatness of Moses was that he recognized that there were more valuable things in life than material treasures.  (Donald Guthrie, Tyndale NT Commentaries: Hebrews, 239)

 

Once it settled on his heart that HE might be the deliverer, to go on living in princely power would be sinful.  To do so, he would have to turn his back on God’s people.  That would be the sin of apostasy–the very sin against which the readers of this letter were repeatedly warned.  So by faith he traded the glory of Egypt to become identified with the despised Israelites.  (C. S. Lovett, Lovett’s Lights on Hebrews, 271)

 

“In the Hebrew of Scripture, there’s no true verb for ‘to have.’  There’s no real or exact way of saying, ‘I have.’  So in Hebrew you can’t possess anything in this world.”

“But what about all the things we do have?”

“As in the Hebrew, it only seems to be.  It’s an illusion.  If it was really yours, you could keep it.  But you can’t keep anything of this world.  Everything you have is temporary.  In the end, you have to let everything go.  What you think you have is only entrusted. . . borrowed.”  (Jonathan Cahn, The Book of Mysteries, Day 30)

 

If we do value “mammon” as normal people seem to think we should, our fate is fixed.  Our fate is anxiety.  It is worry.  It is frustration.  (Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy, 209)

 

The reason physical sacrifice often results in spiritual renewal goes back to a principle Jesus taught in the gospel of Matthew. As your treasure goes, so goes your heart. Jesus said it this way:  “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Mt 6:21).

Your heart and your treasure are linked.  If you want to know what you are really committed to, look at your checkbook and credit card statements.  There is your heart, plain and simple.  There is no clearer reflection of your priorities and values. The way you handle your money is an indicator of where your heart is.  (Andy Stanley, Visioneering, 138)

 

Consider, for example:  by what power did Moses break free from the “fleeting pleasures of sin” in the courts of Egypt?  The answer of Heb 11:24-26 is that he was set free by the power of faith in future grace.  (John Piper, Future Grace, 13)

 

If Satan is going to bring us into sinful states of mind and into sinful actions, he will have to use promises.  This is what he did with Adam and Eve.  This is what he does with us.  He holds out alternative promises to the promises of God.  He subverts faith in future grace with promises of God-neglecting pleasure.  (John Piper, Future Grace, 327)

 

Each of us will eventually give away all our earthly possessions.  How we choose to do so, however, is a reflection on our commitment to the Kingdom of God.  — Charles Stanley

 

We reveal what our treasures are by what we try to protect, secure, keep.  (Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy, 204)

 

Don’t try to make permanent that which is transient.  — Steve Brown

 

Here is why the world and the Devil are so powerful:  Because they give us exactly what we want.  —Voddie Baucham

 

II-  To choose to live by faith and not fear sometimes means trusting God for the future in the face of present risk, rejection, persecution, suffering, loss and pain.  (Heb 11:25-27; see also: Ex 2:1-14; chps 5-14; Ps 3:6; 27:1-3; 46:1-2; 56:4, 11; 112:7-8; 118:6; Prv 28:1; Isa 12:2; 35:4; 40:9; 41:10-14; Jer 30:10; 46:27-28; Mt 5:11-12; 10:28-31; 14:27; 16:24-27; Mk 5:36; 6:50; Lk 12:4-7, 32; Jn 6:30; 14:27; Rom 8: 31; 2 Tm 3:12; Heb 13:6; 1 Pt 4:14; 1 Jn 4:4)

 

Faith looks at everything in the light of eternity, judging of it as one will do when the judgment day is past, and the glory begun; everything is seen in its true value, and sacrifice and suffering and loss and trial are welcomed as the training in which the glad decision, and the firm will, and the strong character, and the victory of faith are attained.  (Andrew Murray, The Holiest of All, 459)

 

It was his faith in God which expelled this fear.  When faith is exercised the greatest terrors cannot alarm saints.  (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 810)

 

Fear is a great pressure, and all of us are tempted at times to bend when standing for the Lord requires us to say or do something that is unpopular or dangerous.  But true faith does not fold under the world’s pressure.  (John MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur NT Commentary: Hebrews, 356)

 

Living the Christian faith is almost always acting in a manner contrary to the fear that you know.  —Steve Brown

 

Reader, is the denying of self and taking up of the cross something which you grudgingly perform, or does the “love of Christ constrain” (2 Cor 5:14) you thereto?  Can you, in your measure, say with the apostle, “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake” (2 Cor 12:10)?  (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 801)

 

Fear knocked. Faith answered. No one was there.

 

Promises like Ps 118:6 can help us handle such situations better.  If you feed those fears, your faith will starve; but if you feed your faith, your fears will starve instead.  (Simon Guillebaud, Choose Life, 365 Readings for Radical Disciples, 10/22)

 

Faith is a spiritual grace which enables its possessor to look away from human terrors, and to confide in an unseen God.  It declares, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Ps 27:1).  (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 781)

 

What he had “heard” from God was to him so grand, so great, so glorious, that, after thoughtfully balancing the one over against the other, Moses rejected material aggrandizement for spiritual riches:  he considered it to be a far higher honor to be a child of Abraham than to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.  (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 799)

 

Fear is the result of distrust, of taking the eye off God, of being unduly occupied with difficulties and troubles.  (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 808)

 

This lack of fear does not speak to the parents’ not having the negative emotions we generally associate with fear, but rather suggests a firm boldness in which they refused to shrink before the hostility of Pharaoh.  (George H. Guthrie, The NIV Application Commentary: Hebrews, 380)

 

He was no ordinary baby.  He was certainly beautiful, but their faith saw more than that.  They believed God had a special purpose for him.  Centuries earlier God had told Abraham that the great nation which was to come from him would go into bondage for 400 years.  Those 400 years had now passed.  When Moses’ parents beheld their remarkable child, they were ready to believe that God was about to fulfill His Word.  So strongly did they believe that God was going to use their child, their faith overcame any natural fear of the king’s decree.  They set the infant adrift on the Nile, trusting God to somehow save the child for His own purpose.  In doing so, they were not unlike Abraham who believed that God would still use Isaac even though he were slain on the altar.  (C. S. Lovett, Lovett’s Lights on Hebrews, 269-70)

 

The first article in the covenant is, “thou shalt have no other gods before Me”:  He must have the pre-eminence in our hearts and lives.  God has not the glory of God unless we honor Him thus.  Now God does not have the uppermost place in our hearts until His favor be esteemed above all things, and until we dread above everything the offending of Him.  As long as we can break with God in order to preserve any worldly interest of ours, we prefer that interest above God.  If we are content to offend God rather than displease our friends or relatives, then we are greatly deceived if we regard ourselves as genuine Christians.  “He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; (Mt 10:37).  (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 789-90)

 

But Moses “feared not the wrath of the king,” and boldly announced the final plague.  Not only so, he declared that his servants should yet pay him homage (Ex 11:4-8).  “He had before him a bloody tyrant, armed with all the power of Egypt, threatening him with present death if he persisted in the work and duty which God had committed to him; but he was so far from being terrified, or declining his duty in the least, that he professeth his resolution to proceed, and denounceth destruction to the tyrant himself” (John Owen).  (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 807)

 

True faith neither courts the smiles of men nor shuns their frowns.  (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 804)

 

O to be able to say in our measure, “I have set the Lord always before me” (Ps 16:8).  This is absolutely essential if faith and courage are to be kept healthy.  Nothing else will enable us to “endure” the frictions and trials of life, the attractions and distractions of the world, the assaults of Satan.  (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 811)

 

In the first case the meaning is, “Moses willingly took part in the contempt and reproach to which the oppressed Israelites were exposed;” in the second, the meaning is, “Moses, the deliverer of Israel, willingly submitted to reproaches similar to those which were heaped on Jesus Christ, the Savior of man.”  (John Brown, Geneva Series Commentaries: Hebrews, 545)

 

Here we have the faith of a leader and of a people who were prepared to attempt the impossible at the command of God, realizing that the greatest barrier in the world is no barrier if God be there to help us overpass it.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series, Hebrews, 159)

 

III-  To choose to live by faith is trusting that ultimately future Good News will always proceed out of present bad news.  (Heb 11:23-28; see also: Gn 50:20; Ps 18:28; Isa 40:28-31; 30:11; Mt 5:3-12; Acts 14:22; Rom 5:1-5; 8:18-28, 36-37; 2 Cor 4:7-5:10; 2 Cor 12:10; Gal 3:24; Phil 3:10-12; 1 Pt 1:3-9)

 

God never promises that our lives will be free of obstacles, problems, crises, and adversities.  He promises something better.  He will use every obstacle in your life to bring to fulfillment the very purposes He has planned for your life.  Every problem, every crisis, every adversity, every setback, and every sorrow will be turned around to bring breakthrough, blessing, and triumph.  And in God, every mountain, every obstacle that has hindered God’s purposes in your life, will, in the end, be turned around and become a capstone to bring about the completion of those very purposes.  (Jonathan Cahn, The Book of Mysteries, Day 313)

 

In God, even the wilderness becomes a place of blessing.  And if God is with you, then your journey is also part of your destination.  And your life on earth is also part of heaven’s domain.  And so even while you journey on earth, you can live a heavenly life.  Therefore, no matter where you find yourself, no matter what your circumstance, no matter what your surroundings, rejoice, press forward. . . and choose to live in victory even now. . . For in the end you will see it. . . that your wilderness was part of the Promised Land.  (Jonathan Cahn, The Book of Mysteries, Day 292)

 

You may be called to trials and duties as difficult and severe as those of Amram or Jochebed,–you may be called to what will expose your life, and what may be dearer to you than your life, to extreme danger; but a faith in the Gospel will prevent you from shrinking from the task assigned you–will support you while engaged in it, while He in whom you believe will render even these difficulties and hazards the very means of securing for you the great end of your faith, and the great object of your hope–the salvation of your souls.  (John Brown, Geneva Series Commentaries: Hebrews, 541)

 

Human beings grow by striving, working, stretching; and in a sense, human nature needs problems more than solutions. Why are not all prayers answered magically and instantly? Why must every convert travel the same tedious path of spiritual discipline? Because persistent prayer, and fasting, and study, and meditation are designed primarily for our sakes, not for God’s. Kierkegaard said that Christians reminded him of schoolboys who want to look up the answers to their math problems in the back of the book rather than work them through…We yearn for shortcuts. But shortcuts usually lead away from growth, not toward it. Apply the principle directly to Job:  what was the final result of the testing he went through?  As Rabbi Abraham Heschel observed, “Faith like Job’s cannot be shaken because it is the result of having been shaken.” (Philip Yancey, Disappointment With God, 207-8)

 

When we come to it straight from God’s presence, no task can ever defeat us.  Our failure and our fear are so often due to the fact that we try to do things alone.  The secret of victorious living is to face God before we face men.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series, Hebrews, 159)

 

Moses actually instituted the Passover as a “lasting ordinance” to be done year after year (Ex 12:14)–which means that Moses never doubted in the least that the people would be delivered from Egypt!  He had nothing to go on but God’s word, but he believed it implicitly.  (R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word: Hebrews, vol. 2, 121)

 

Faith not only elevates the heart above the delights of sense, but it also delivers it from the fear of man.  Faith and fear are opposites, and yet, strange to say, they are often found dwelling within the same breast; but where one is dominant the other is dormant.  The constant attitude of the Christian should be, “Behold, God is my salvation:  I will trust, and not be afraid” (Isa 12:2).  But alas, what ought to be, and what is, are two vastly different things.  (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 804)

 

Perhaps some one may ask, But was there no wavering in Moses’ faith?  Yes, dear reader, for he was a man of like passions with us.  They who have a faith which never varies, which remains the same whether it be cloudy and stormy, or fair and sun-shiny, have nothing but a natural and letter faith.  A spiritual and supernatural faith is one which we did not originate and is one which we cannot call into exercise whenever we please:  God imparted it, and He alone can renew and call it into action.  When the leaders of Israel murmured against Moses, and charged him with endangering their lives (Ex 5:21), we are told that, Moses returned unto the Lord, and said, Lord, wherefore hast Thou so evil entreated this people?  Why is it that Thou hast sent me?  For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Thy name, he hath done evil to this people; neither hast Thou delivered Thy people at all” (Ex 5:22, 25).  Blessed is it to behold the patience of God with His failing servant, and to see how He comforted and strengthened him: Ex 6:1-8.  (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 808-9)

 

God speaks to the Israelites and He says, . . .“I am about to unleash the most inexorable, irresistible, unstoppable force in the Universe:  The Destroyer.  It is going to go through the greatest military and political power that the world has ever seen, Egypt; it is going to right through it like a knife through hot butter.  And there is only one thing that you can do, there is only one way you can face this ultimate force on the universe . . . a lamb.  A lamb!?  I’m going to be protected from the ultimate force of the universe by Fluffy and Muffy?  The weakest, meekest, mildest kind of creature possible, and God says , “Yes the only way you are going to be able to face this ultimate force of the Universe is I want you to kill a lamb, eat it with your family and put the blood on the doorpost.”

And that’s is the Passover.  (Tim Keller message, The Story of the Lamb)

 

The outstanding characteristic of Moses was the close intimacy of his relationship with God.  In Ex 33:9-11 we read of how he went into the Tabernacle; “and the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.”  In Nm 12:7, 8 we read of God’s verdict on him when there were those who were ready to rebel against him: “with him I speak mouth to mouth.”  To put it simply–the secret of his faith was that Moses knew God personally.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series, Hebrews, 159)

 

Moses listened obediently to God’s instructions and in faith passed them on to the Israelites.  Could he expect the Israelites to obey the command of God?  If they failed to listen, they would suffer the death of their first-born.  And Moses himself put full confidence in God.  If the blood of the lamb proved to be ineffective in protecting the first-born from the destructive power of the angel of death, his role as leader of the people would end abruptly.  To establish Moses’ authority in spiritual matters, the people of Israel would have to see that not one first-born died in those houses where the blood of a lamb had been sprinkled.  (William Hendriksen & Simon J. Kistemaker, NT Commentary: Hebrews, 341)

 

Worship Point: Worship the God Who promises . . . in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Rom 8:28).

 

Worship is an outward expression of what we value most. (Ligon Duncan; 5 Keys to Spiritual Growth)

 

Death is the godly man’s wish, the wicked man’s fear.  (Samuel Bolton; The True Bounds of Christian Freedom,  46)

 

Death is the supreme festival on the path (way) to freedom.  (Dietrich Bonhoeffer shortly before his execution in a German Concentration camp)

 

We cannot but serve our treasures.  We labor all day for them and think about them all night.  They fill our dreams.  (Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy, 207)

 

Do you think the businessman who found the pearl was sweating over its cost?  An obviously ridiculous question!  What about the one who found the treasure in the field–perhaps crude oil or gold?  No.  Of course not.  The only thing these people were sweating about was whether they would “get the deal.”  Now that is the soul of the disciple.  (Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy, 292)

 

Our treasure focuses our heart.  (Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy, 206)

 

If we set our desires on anything other than the true God, we will become like that thing.  Desire that is focused on the right object–the one true God–enables and grows a human being.  Desire set on the wrong thing corrupts and debases us.

If we worship money, in other words, we’ll become a greedy person.

If we worship sex, we’ll become a lustful person.

If we worship power, we’ll become a corrupt person.

If we worship accomplishment, we’ll become a restless, frantic person.

If we worship love and acceptance, we’ll become a slave to others.

If we worship external beauty, we’ll become shallow.

And worshiping anything other than the true God will make us something other than what he created us to be.  (Pete Wilson, Empty Promises, 158)

 

Trying to improve on God’s plan is more pretentious than taking a felt-tipped pen and trying to improve the Mona Lisa.  Our scribbling would do nothing but ruin the masterpiece.  God needs our obedience, not our help, our trust, not our counsel.  He makes the plans; we walk in them by faith.  (John MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur NT Commentary: Hebrews, 348-9)

 

How like God to test our faith by demanding from us what seems ridiculous!  Whether it’s building an ark without a cloud in the sky. . . or believing the promise of having a baby when you’re pushing a century. . . or painting blood on a door to spare your family’s lives, God seems to pair faith with the unusual.  (Charles R. Swindoll, Swindoll’s Living Insights: Hebrews, 186)

 

Gospel Application: We need to . . . fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Heb 12:2).  He is the basis of our faith, our Passover Lamb, and our ultimate example of living by faith in the confidence that all God’s promises will come true no matter how desperate the circumstances.  AKA: delayed gratification.

 

To invite sinners to receive Christ as their “savior” before they surrender to Him as their Lord, is to present a false “way of salvation.”  To bid the lost “come to Christ” without telling them they must first “forsake the world,” is to fill the “churches” with unconverted souls.  To tell sinners they may find rest unto their souls without taking Christ’s YOKE upon them, is to give the lie unto the Master’s own teaching:  Mt 11:29.  (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 815)

 

No man can rightly value the blood of Christ while his heart is still wrapped up in the world, and to invite and exhort him to put his trust in the same, is being guilty of casting pearls before swine.  No man can savingly believe in Christ while he is determined to “enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.”  Repentance precedes faith (Mk 1:15; Acts 20:21):  and repentance is a sorrowing over sin, a hatred of sin, and a turning from sin; and where there is no genuine repentance, there can be no “remission of sins”:  Mk 1:4.  (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 814)

 

The human heart produces desires as fire produces heat.  As surely as the sparks fly upward, the heart pumps out desire after desire for a happier future.  The condition of the heart is appraised by the kinds of desires that hold sway.  Or, to put it another way, the state of the heart is shown by the things that satisfy its desires.  If it is satisfied with mean and ugly things, it is a mean and ugly heart.  If it is satisfied with God, it is a godly heart.  As Henry Skougal put it, “The worth and excellency of a soul is to be measured by the object of its desire.”  (John Piper, Future Grace, 277-8)

 

Instituting and observing the feast of the Passover, the leader of the Israelites set an example that could not be ignored without fatal consequences.  It completely repudiated the awful error of thinking to escape from the wrath of God in consequence of any performances on the part of the creature.  It effectively shuts up the sinner to Christ as his only hope.  (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 813)

 

The Hebrews, equally with the Egyptians, were exposed unto the Divine vengeance, when the Angel of Death went forth on his dread work that memorable night, for “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”  And naught but their placing the substitutionary death of an innocent victim between their guilty selves and an holy God, could protect from the judgment announced against them.  Trusting in their descent from Abraham would avail them not.  Appeal to their good works and religious performances would have sufficed not.  They might have spent the entire night in fasting and prayer, in penitently confessing their sins and crying unto God for mercy, but none of those exercises would have stood them in any good stead.  “When I see the blood, I will pass over you” (Ex 12:13) made known the all-essential requirement.  So it is now; nothing but the blood of Christ can cleanse from sin and deliver from the death-penalty of God’s broken law.  (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 819)

 

Spiritual Challenge:  Say, “No” to the flesh and, “Yes” to the Spirit.  Know God so well that you can live by faith in God’s promises.  Those who are “in Christ” are gonna make it.  (Rom 8:18-25; 31-37; 2 Cor 4:7-5:10; 1 Pt 1:3-9)

 

Sin is what you do when your heart is not satisfied with God.  No one sins out of duty.  We sin because it holds out some promise of happiness.  That promise enslaves us until we believe that God is more to be desired than life itself (Ps 63:3).  Which means that the power of sin’s promise is broken by the power of God’s.  All that God promises to be for us in Jesus stands over against what sin promises to be for us without him.  (John Piper, Future Grace, 9-10)

 

Jesus never told us to erase our ambition.  Jesus never said to shun all thought of rewards.  He told us to turn from earthly ambition and to shun earthly rewards.  He said in effect, “Put yourself last here on earth, and in heaven you’ll be first.”  That’s a trade, not a complete denial!  That thirst for glory you feel in your heart is part of what makes you human–Jesus just wants us to focus it on heaven, looking for our rewards there.  (Gary Thomas, Sacred Marriage, 151)

 

The one who would have God’s power must lead a life of self-denial.  There are many things which are not sinful in the ordinary understanding of the word sin, but which hinder spirituality and rob men of power.  I do not believe that any man can lead a luxurious life, overindulge his natural appetites, indulge extensively in dainties, and enjoy the fullness of God’s power.  The gratification of the flesh and the fullness of the Spirit do not go hand in hand.  “The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh:  and these are contrary the one to the other” (Gal 5:17).  Paul wrote:  “I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection” (1 Cor 9:27; see ASV, Greek; note also Eph 5:18).  (R. A. Torrey, The Baptism with the Holy Spirit, 75-6)

 

. . .loving God is not a mere decision.  You cannot merely decide to love classical music–or country western music–much less God.  The music must become compelling.  Something must change inside of you.  That change makes possible the awakening of a compelling sense of its attractiveness.  So it is with God.  You do not merely decide to love him.  Something changes inside of you, and as a result he becomes compellingly attractive.  His glory–his beauty–compels your admiration and delight.  He becomes your supreme treasure.  You love him.  (John Piper, Think, 87)

 

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 holiness will bring.  Nobody sins out of duty.  Therefore, what breaks the power of sin is faith in the true promise that the pleasures of sin are passing and poisonous, but at God’s right hand are pleasures for evermore (Ps 16:11).  This way of fighting sin with the hope of superior satisfaction, is called, in Heb 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)

 

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)

 

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)

 

What you do with Jesus has always been more important than what you do for Jesus.  (Pete Wilson, Empty Promises, 111)

 

Some find it impossible to make the sacrifices Christianity requires, because they have no faith.  Multitudes find it difficult to make them, for they have little faith.  If we have faith, we shall find such sacrifices practicable; if we have strong faith, we will find them easy.  They must be made; otherwise our Christianity is but a name, our faith is but a pretense, and our hope a delusion.  (John Brown, Geneva Series Commentaries: Hebrews, 549)

 

The worth and value of our soul is measured by what we love.  If we love corrupt and wicked things we become corrupt and wicked.  But the person who loves God spiritually grows and matures until he becomes like the One he loves.  What a person loves is constantly on his mind.  And what we think about has a power to transform our soul.  We become like what we behold.    (Henry Scougal and Robert Leighton; God’s Abundant Life, 39)

 

Does not living by faith in future grace, alias Christian hedonism, make a god out of pleasure?  I answer, No, we make a god out of what we take most pleasure in.  My aim, in all my life and writing, is to make God God.  The biblical truth by which I endeavor to do that is:  God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.  The breadth and depth of our pursuit of joy in God is the measure of his worth in our life.  (John Piper, Future Grace, 387)

 

You can never play off self-love against love to God when self-love is treated as our love for happiness.  Rather love to God is the form that self-love takes when God is discovered as the all-satisfying fountain of joy.  Norman Fiering catches the sense here perfectly when he sums up Edwards’ position like this:  “Disinterested love to God is impossible because the desire for happiness is intrinsic to all willing or loving whatsoever, and God is the necessary end of the search for happiness.  Logically one cannot be disinterested about the source or basis of all interest.  (John Piper, Future Grace, 392)

 

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)

 

Again we would be reminded that “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Rom 10:17).  Moses had heard, he had heard something from God, and his faith laid hold of and rested upon the same.  What was it that he had heard?  This, “Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent you:  when thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain” (Ex 3:12).  So, too, if we are Christians, God has said to us, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”  Therefore “we may boldly say, The Lord is my Helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Heb 13:5, 6).  (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 808)

 

Obedience is not always easy, but in the end sin is much, much harder.  God’s way is not only for His own honor but for our own good.  Satan’s way is for his honor and for our harm.  (John MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur NT Commentary: Hebrews, 352-3)

 

Our pleasure and our duty, though opposite before,

Since we have seen His beauty, are joined to part no more

To see the Law by Christ fulfilled, and hear His pardon voice,

Transforms a slave into a child and duty into choice.   — John Newton

 

Without the roots, the tree ceases to exist.  And if its roots are shallow or weak, the tree and its fruits will wither away.  A tree’s fruitfulness can never exceed its rootfulness.  (Jonathan Cahn, The Book of Mysteries, Day 121)

 

This book is an extended meditation on the biblical testimony that the human heart is “cleansed…by faith” (Acts 15:9 RSV); that every act of obedience to Christ is a “work of faith” (1 Thess 1:3; 2 Thess 1:11); that the aim of all biblical instruction is “love from…sincere faith” (1 Tm 1:5); that Abel and Noah and Abraham and Rahab were empowered for obedience “by faith” (Heb 11:4, 7, 8, 31); that “sanctification [is] by…faith in the truth” (2 Thess 2:13; Acts 26:18); that “faith [works] through love” (Gal 5:6); and that the whole law of God was meant to be pursued not “as though it were by works,” but “by faith” (Rom 9:32).  (John Piper, Future Grace, 14-5)

 

Faith makes a person wise.  It is one of the notable points about faith that it is sanctified common sense.  That is not at all a bad definition of faith.  It is not fanaticism; it is not absurdity.  It is making God the grandest asset in our account, and then reckoning according to the soundest logic.  It is not putting my hands into boiling water with the impression that it will not scald me; it is not doing foolish and absurd things.  Faith is believing in God and acting toward God as we ought to do.  It is treating Him, not as a cipher, but as a grand overtopping numeral in all our additions and subtractions.  It is realizing God–that is what it is.  And in that sense, faith is the truest reason, spiritualized and lifted up out of the ordinary sphere in which godless men choose to indulge in it.  It is sanctified reason, enlightened from on high.  (Charles Spurgeon, Spurgeon Commentary: Hebrews, 360)

 

The bodies of God’s children die, are buried, and return to dust; but faith beholds a glorious resurrection for them.  O the wondrous power of faith to rise above the things of sight and sense.  It is true that neither the impartation of faith, nor its growth and exercise, lie within our power; nevertheless, we are responsible to avoid those things which becloud and weaken faith, and we are responsible to nourish faith.  (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 812)

 

Faith can do what unbelief must not attempt to do.  And when unbelief tries to follow in the footsteps of faith, it becomes its own destroyer.  You must have real faith in God, or you cannot go where faith would take you; but with faith you may go through the cloud or through the sea, and find yourself safe on the other side.  (Charles Spurgeon, Spurgeon Commentary: Hebrews, 363)

 

So What?:  Living by faith and not by sight empowers us to live with delayed gratification in spite of the FWS (Fallen World Syndrom).

 

Jesus says that He comes from above.  He descends from the eternal realm.  He calls the Christian to live his life in light of eternity.  A Christian’s values are to be measured by transcendent norms of eternal significance.  (R.C. Sproul; Lifeviews, 36)

 

Your vision has not truly captured your heart until it captures your wallet. For this reason, at some point along the way, God is going to call upon you to make a financial sacrifice for the thing he has put in your heart to do. He knows that when you commit your treasure to the vision, your heart will follow. When you take those first sacrificial steps to act on your vision, your heart moves with you and attaches itself to the vision.

When we loosen our hands from around our treasure, he loosens the world’s death grip from our hearts. When you apply your hands to a divinely ordered vision, God begins a reordering of your heart as well.(Andy Stanley; Visioneering, p.138)

 

The only way I know how to fight back against allowing money to become an idol, the only way I know how to break the greedy pattern of get, get, get in my life, is the one Jesus taught us and modeled for us again and again.

The healthy way to handle money–and any other potential idol in our lives–is to give, give, give, trusting God to provide what we really need.  (Pete Wilson, Empty Promises, 105)

 

The trouble is, real American values are expressed not by what we say we wish for, but by what we really do…Perhaps the best indicator of what we really are is what we spend our money on or what we watch on television.  Look at what we read.  Look at what we choose to do with our spare time.  That’s what we value. (Stuart Briscoe; Choices for a Lifetime, 6)

 

For secularism, all life, every human value, every human activity must be understood in light of this present time.  (Lifeviews By: R.C. Sproul 35)

 

Remember that our heart is our will, or our spirit:  the center of our being from which our life flows.  It is what gives orientation to everything we do.  A heart rightly directed therefore brings health and wholeness to the entire personality.  (Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy, 206)

 

Values are what make us who we are.  —Retired General Norman Schwarzkopf

 

Moses was in that state and condition, and had those things to do, wherein he stood in need continually of Divine power and assistance.  Whence this should proceed, he could not discern by his senses, his bodily eyes could behold no present assistant, for God is “invisible.”  And it requires an especial act of the mind in expecting help from Him who cannot be seen.  Wherefore this is here ascribed to him.  He saw Him who was in Himself invisible; that is, he saw by faith, whom he could not see with his eyes” (John Owen).  (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 811-2)

 JESUS:

WORTH WAITING FOR

 

 

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