Hebrews 12:1-2 – 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.
“Therefore, since there is a ‘you all’ of a cloud of witnesses, let ‘us’ do this, so that we can become the ‘you all’ to another generation of ‘us.’ And the final word is that Jesus is THE witness who is seated at the right hand of God, and THE witness is also the One who began our story and will bring it to the purposed and promised conclusion as told to us in Ephesians 1.4-6.”
Ephesians 4:1-6 – For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
This transmission of faith has been going on for generations and generations. It’s not about transmission of information… it’s about real-life stories of faith, being faith-full and impacting the next generation.
Let’s sing, let it rise, come on! “We Praise You” by Matt Redman (Click here).
Hebrews 11:39-40 – These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
“Now you’re wondering wait, we thought they received their promises, yes, but in this reference, the ‘something better that God planned for us’ is not about the promises we were talking about but a greater promise than that – and it includes us, and it includes the ‘us’ of believers that will come after us when we are no longer living on this earth.
John Piper describes it this way, that it is about receiving the full blessing of God’s promise, ‘which is resurrection with new bodies in a glorious new age’. In other words, God’s purpose is that all his people — all the redeemed — be gathered in before any of them enjoys the fullness of his promise… Do you see why the ‘you all’ cloud of witnesses is looking at ‘us’ and saying ‘Get on with it! We know you have issues, but we had ’em too, you’ve read all about it.’…But what counts is the Hebrews 11 kind of stuff. Not your pasts, not your brokenness, not even your successes… Will you be described as faith-full?”
Let’s respond to the Lord with bold faith. May our souls sing even louder the glory of Christ’s gospel in our lives – “Even Louder” by People of the Earth (Click here).
Joshua 24:32 – And Joseph’s bones, which the Israelites had brought up from Egypt, were buried at Shechem in the tract of land that Jacob bought for a hundred pieces of silver from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem. This became the inheritance of Joseph’s descendants.
“And how did Joseph know about this promise spoken to his great-grandfather Abraham and how would people who lived 400 years after him remember this and actually do it? Think of Moses sending whoever he sent and telling them we’re about to go, go get Joseph’s bones…
‘The living, the living—they praise you,
as I am doing today;
parents tell their children
about your faithfulness.’ (Isaiah 38.19)
It is by the telling of the faithfulness of God from one generation to another, it is realizing the ‘us’ of today, is the ‘you all’ cloud of witnesses of yesterday. What stories will you tell your children, your grandchildren? Will our stories be the ‘come and see and hear, what the Lord has done for me’ kind of stories? Well if you plan on telling those kinds of stories, better get to it; better get them stories!”
These stories of Joseph, Abraham and Moses, talk about God who was great. Pray that God would be great in our lives today!
“Just as Hannah shared that she wasn’t aware there was such a thing as being ‘healed in the mind’ or even that this was an issue in her life, we, too, often miss seeing our own issues. For myself, I didn’t know I had a ‘daddy’ issue until God revealed to me I did. I didn’t know I had an ‘unforgiveness’ issue until God revealed to me I did. I didn’t know I had any ‘issues,’ really, until God revealed to me I did.
You don’t have to raise your hands, but how many of you feel you don’t have issues? I have to break it to you, but you do, and this means you haven’t even started getting over them. It’s when we come to God do we then realize we have issues because issues are really just another word for sin and brokenness, things that we’ve done but also things that were done to us. Do you question why it’s hard to draw near to God, to feel His presence? Because to do so, you have to want God to get real with you and mercifully, even when we don’t want to, He gives it to us.”
Ephesians 4:18 – They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.
Draw closer to God through prayer: “Father, touch my heart and mind and heal me!”
“When you read Scripture, and you see the examples of those who are deemed the heroes of the faith, where do you see yourself fit in that lineage? We look at the ‘saints’ and their examples and we feel so far off from them, and we also look so much into ourselves and our own limitations, brokenness and we disqualify ourselves when even God Himself has not.
Think about all those heroes though… We would have surely thought the promise of God would not be able to be fulfilled because of their human weakness and failings. And this is a short list from the heroes in Hebrews 11:
Sarah – childlessness, the ‘other’ woman issues
Isaac – relationship with father, old age issues
Jacob – identity, disability issues
Joseph – slavery, sibling issues
Rahab – prostitute, foreigner issues
As you see, the descriptions should make us pause and wonder however did they make it? So perhaps they are agreeing with us saying, ‘we know we had issues, but you have yours too – you all are really just like us in every way.’”
Hebrews 11:11 – And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise.
Take a moment to pray about the things in life that make it difficult for you to trust God.
Prayer: “Lord, we believe You will always be faithful!”