Hebrews 13

All this theolgical discussion of faith has practical outcomes.  In chapter 11 we see great examples of faith and in chapter 12 we are encouraged to live by faith, now in chapter 13 the writer gives us what the evidences of faith in our lives should look like.  If we are truly walking and growing in faith (which is spiritual maturity) then our lives reflect it. 

Faith is living with an eternal perspective and believing that God will complete everything He has started in us.  It is living with the assurance that no matter what this life may bring, our eternity is secure.  Faith is not giving up on God when the hard times hit.

Here are some of the things the author says is the outward reflection of living by faith...

Keep on loving each other as brothers.
Do not forget to entertain strangers
Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.
Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure,
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have,
Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.
Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings.
Through Jesus, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise--the fruit of lips that confess his name.
Do not forget to do good and to share with others
Obey your leaders and submit to their authority.

Is your faith showing?

Hebrews 12

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

The "great... cloud [assembly, mass] of witnesses" was introduced to us in Hebrews 11. They are the heroes of the faith. It is not that these people are now in heaven watching us run the race as spectators in a stadium, a better understanding of what the author is saying can be gotten when we understand that the word for witness is also the word used for martyr.  What the writer is saying is that these people are not "witnessing" what we are doing, rather they are bearing witness to us that God can see us through the hard times.  Their lives are an example to us that if we keep our perspective on the eternal rather than on the here and now we will be able the finish the race here on earth; that we will not falter and lose heart.

While the writer is talking about past heroes of the faith I am drawn to the fact that one of the very necessary things we must be doing is having fellowship with other believers - especially those who have some life experience - so that they can encourage us and be a witness to us that though the road is hard and painful at times, we can make it through.

I am heartbroken though by the fact that many of the "older, more mature" believers are choosing not to interact with the younger believers to encourage them and spur them on to love and good deeds.  There seems to be a retirement mentality that is prevalent amongst the older believers.  For those who have been through the fire and seen the hand of God, for those who have witnessed the keeping power of the Almighty...we have a responsibility to encourage, exhort and spur on the younger believers so that they do not falter and give up in the middle of the persecution and painful experiences that they face.  God is more interested in our holiness than our happiness and so He allows us to experience hardships to bring us to holiness.  Hardships are to be embraced and endured because it makes us holy and without holiness we cannot see God.  Older, more seasoned believers should provide the witness of this to younger ones.  

My challenge to you is to...
Make sure that you are meeting regularly with other believers so that you can be encouraged, exhorted and spurred on.
Make sure you are meeting regularly with other believers so that you can encourage, exhort and spur on one another.
And finally embrace the hardships, they bring us to holiness if we will let them and that is a good thing.

Hebrews 11

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.  By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.


This is not a definition of faith but a description of what faith does and how it works. Real faith is not blind optimism or a manufactured "hope-so" feeling. Neither is it an intellectual assent to a doctrine. It certainly is not believing in spite of evidence!

True Bible faith is confident obedience to God's Word in spite of circumstances and consequences.

This faith operates quite simply. God speaks and we hear His Word. We trust His Word and act on it no matter what the circumstances are or what the consequences may be. The circumstances may be impossible, and the consequences frightening and unknown; but we obey God's Word just the same and believe Him to do what is right and what is best.

Faith is a very practical thing (Heb. 11:3).
Faith enables us to understand what God does.
Faith enables us to see what others cannot see.
As a result, faith enables us to do what others cannot do!

People laughed at these great men and women when they stepped out by faith, but God was with them and enabled them to succeed to His glory.

Dr. J. Oswald Sanders put it perfectly: "Faith enables the believing soul to treat the future as present and the invisible as seen."

The best way to grow in faith is to walk with the faithful.

Bible Exposition Commentary – (Hebrews).

Hebrews 8

The existence of the New Covenant does not mean that the Old Covenant was wrong or that the Law has no ministry today.
Both covenants were given by God.
Both covenants were given for people's good.
Both covenants had blessings attached to them.

If Israel had obeyed the terms of the Old Covenant, God would have blessed them and they would have been ready for the coming of their Messiah. Paul pointed out that the Old Covenant had its share of glory (2 Cor. 3:7-11). I think we have to be careful not to criticize the Old Covenant or minimize it.
Now even though the New Covenant of grace brings with it freedom from the Law of Moses (Gal. 5:1), it does not bring freedom to disobey God and sin. God still desires that the "righteousness of the Law" should be fulfilled in us through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

  • Romans 8:1-4 (TLB) 1  So there is now no condemnation awaiting those who belong to Christ Jesus. 2  For the power of the life-giving Spirit—and this power is mine through Christ Jesus—has freed me from the vicious circle of sin and death. 3  We aren’t saved from sin’s grasp by knowing the commandments of God because we can’t and don’t keep them, but God put into effect a different plan to save us. He sent his own Son in a human body like ours—except that ours are sinful—and destroyed sin’s control over us by giving himself as a sacrifice for our sins. 4  So now we can obey God’s laws if we follow after the Holy Spirit and no longer obey the old evil nature within us.


Hebrews 7

Hebrews 7:25 (TLB)   Jesus is able to save completely all who come to God through him. Since he will live forever, he will always be there to remind God that he has paid for their sins with his blood.

Saved to the uttermost.  
Jesus is able to save us completely and forever.

Saved from sin completely and forever.  
Forever and completely saved.  
Saved from sin completely.  
Saved from sin forever.


Hebrews 6

I don't believe that the writer is telling us we can lose our salvation, rather what he is saying is that while it is God who carries us along to maturity, we are called upon to do our part so that we can grow up in God - to be made in His image and likeness.  We cannot be lazy and flippant about spiritual growth - we must be careful to do all we can to grow up in Christ.  

  • Hebrews 6:12 (ETRV) 12 We don't want you to be lazy. We want you to be like those who, because of their faith and patience, will get what God has promised.

The understanding here is that we are to apply ourselves to growth.

God's promise to Abraham was kept despite Abraham's failures and sins because God's promises are not dependent our our character but His faithfulness, however, we cannot give up halfway through the process.  We may have moments of doubts and failure but we must continue to believe that God will do what He promised to do and that He does not lie.  Another way to say it is that we will obtain and enjoy what God has promised if we carefully apply ourselves to the development of our spiritual life.  

What is keeping you from making spiritual progress? 
We cannot reap the reward of spiritual maturity if we do no apply ourselves to the process.  What are some ways to apply ourselves?
No hiding from church fellowship.  "I am too busy", "I don't have time" are excuses that will not cut it.  It should be a priority to faithfully attend church and a GROW group.  
We must make reading, studying and applying the Word of God to our lives a priority.  It is why we encourage you to have a daily PB&J.  Prayer, bible reading and journaling.
You make spiritual progress by choosing to serve God in ministry at your local church and by sharing Christ with the people around who are yet to become Christ-followers.

To be clear...none of these things are about becoming a Christian, these are the things that help us mature as Christians.

Let's keep growing up in spiritual maturity! No excuses.

Hebrews 5

11 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

I have believed that in the modern church we have fallen into the habit of equating years in church as maturity.  There is a sense that the only purpose of the church is a place where a believer is fed and their needs taken care of.  In reading Hebrews 5: 11-14 I see that this problem was evident in those days as well.  The writer bemoans the fact that his hearers are not hearing properly.  By this time in their Christian walk they should be further down the road but they are dull hearers.  That word dull in verse 11 is the word slothful.  In other words the people have been taught and they are apathetic and lazy to do what it takes for there to be spiritual growth.  They “hear” the Word with their ears but hearing entails not just hearing it but it also requires action.

In not hearing properly the believers are stuck in the baby stage, not moving to growth that leads them to being parents.  Don’t get stuck in immaturity!  Too many believers are stuck in this stage.  It is time to grow up and desire the deeper things of God, thing that require sacrifice, commitment and self-discipline.  

Hebrews 4

Hebrews 4:1-3 (ETRV) 1 And we still have the promise that God gave those people. That promise is that we can enter his place of rest. So we should be very careful that none of you fails to get that promise. 2 Yes, the good news about it was told to us just as it was to them. But the message they heard did not help them. They heard it but did not accept it with faith. 3 Only we who believe it are able to enter God's place of rest. 

The emphasis in Hebrews is that true believers have an eternal salvation because they trust a living Savior who constantly intercedes for them. But the writer is careful to point out that this confidence is no excuse for sin - God disciplines His children. Canaan (the Promised Land of the Israelites)  is not a picture of heaven, but of our present spiritual inheritance as believers in Christ. WE walk in the promise but it comes with many battles as we continually drive the enemy from the land.  Believers who doubt God's Word and rebel against Him do not miss heaven, but they do miss out on the blessings of their inheritance today.  In other words we live defeated, powerless lives as believers in this world because we lack faith to believe in God and His Word.

God has really been dealing with me on this issue of faith.  Am I like the the Israelites who, at the border of the Promised land, looked and saw the giants and doubted God's ability to bring about what He had promised or will I be like Joshua and Caleb who believed God's Word and His ability to accomplish it.  Those men walked in the promise even though it took 40 years to see it.  Don't let the circumstances around you cause you to lose faith in God, He is bigger than your circumstances.  Once again I am reminded that this is one of the greatest reasons we need the fellowship of believers, so that in moments of doubts we will be encouraged and spurred on to belief and victorious living.

God can
God will
And even if He doesn't I will still believe in Him and His Word.

Hebrews 3

But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

As we continue to walk out this life of obedience to Christ and His Word we will face many trying times that will cause us to want to turn around and "go back to Egypt."  But the truth is that the only place of rest and peace for us is as we step out in faith and follow the directives of God.  He has saved us but there still is a road ahead we must walk and the only way to walk that road is in obedience to His Word.  As we are submitted to His Word and Will we find rest in the form of the peace of God.  In salvation we enjoyed peace with God and in submission we enjoy the peace of God.

The journey of faith and obedience is fraught with many battles, victories and defeats so it is important to not walk this road alone.  The author of Hebrews tells us to journey together so that we can "daily" encourage each other so that we will not lose heart.

Who are you journeying with? 
Who are you encouraging to stay the course? 
Who are you reading and studying the Word with so that you may spur one another on towards love and good deeds? 

Let's travel together!

Hebrews 2

Jesus is better...

He is better than anyone and anything we have come to trust or venerate.
He is better than the prophets of old.
He is better than the angels.
He is better than any of the great leaders of the Bible like Moses, Joshua.
He is better than any ritual or custom we put our trust in.
He is better than any human priest. 
He is the ultimate high priest.

Jesus is better...
Better than any material possession that we think will give us joy and peace.
Better than any person we put our trust in to save and protect us.

Jesus is better!!!