Morning Bible Study
The App is here. It allows you to
give with a couple of clicks on your phone, but there’s so, so much more.
Thanks for Trunk or Treat volunteers
On Dec. 1 our team is taking a one day trip to
deliver Christmas presents to orphans.
Interested in going? Interested in
buying presents for an orphan? See Manny
The book of Hebrews was written to Jewish believers.
The author expects the
readers to be well acquainted with Levitical worship and sacrifice.
He will constantly quote the Old Testament in a way that expects that the
reader understands what he’s talking about.
We also know that these believers were encountering very strong
Times were so bad that some were beginning to wonder if they shouldn’t quit
We will see three elements woven throughout this letter to the Hebrews.
1. Both Testaments
Even though the Old Testament has become “obsolete” (Heb. 8:13), the entire
book of Hebrews is built upon the clear foundation of the Old Testament.
(Hebrews 8:13 NKJV)
that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what
is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
You aren’t going to understand Hebrews, or even the New Testament correctly
unless you learn the Old Testament.
2. Jesus is superior
He’s superior to angels, Moses, and the Torah.
He’s superior to the Levitical priests and their sacrifices.
3. Don’t quit
The ultimate goal of the book is to encourage those who are struggling with
difficult times, and help them to endure.
We’ve seen that the answer to their difficult times is their faith.
Definition: Faith is trusting
something you don’t see.
Faith is trusting when you don’t understand what’s going on.
We talked about other words for “faith” being “belief”, “trust”, or even
Our author is going to show over and over again
how the great men and women of the Old Testament survived their difficulties
because of their “faith”.
:7 By faith Noah, being
divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark
for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became
heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.
:7 being divinely warned of things not yet seen
being divinely warned – chrematizo – to
transact business, to give a response to those consulting an oracle; to be
The word is based on chre,
the word for “need”.
There is sense of urgency built into this word.
The sense of being “divinely” warned is implied. There’s no “divinity” in the word.
seen – blepo – to see, discern, of the bodily eye;
Noah had a conversation with God in which God warned Noah that He was going
to destroy the world through a massive flood.
Nobody had never seen anything like this before.
Yet God now said,
6:17 NKJV) And behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters on
the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath
of life; everything that is on the earth shall die.
:7 by which he condemned the world
condemned – katakrino – to give judgment against, to judge
worthy of punishment; to condemn
Noah brought condemnation to the world in several ways.
He condemned the world to death in that he was the only one building a
He condemned the world because of his faith – he was the only one who
believed this message from God enough to build an ark.
He brought condemnation to the world because he was a preacher, he had
spoken the warnings of God
Peter wrote that God …
(2 Peter 2:5 NKJV) …did not spare the ancient world,
but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness,
bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly
:7 became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith
We’ve been making the point over and over again –
becoming “right” with God can only come to those who have “faith”.
Noah’s faith in God was the basis for Moses to write:
(Genesis 6:8 NKJV) But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.
:7 moved with godly fear, prepared an ark
moved with godly fear – eulabeomai – to
act cautiously, circumspectly; to reverence God, to be influenced by pious awe
Aorist passive participle
prepared – kataskeuazo – to furnish, equip, prepare, make
ready; of one who makes anything ready for a person or thing; of builders, to
construct, erect, with the included idea of adorning and equipping with all
Aorist active indicative
Action reveals Faith
Noah’s “faith” produced his reverence or awe of God, which resulted in him
building the Ark that God asked him to build.
Yesterday at the Men’s Breakfast, Greg Bird said:
A person’s actions show what they really believe.
You see it in Star Wars where Yoda has asked Luke to pull his X-wing out of
the swamp. You find out what kind of faith Luke has in the “force”.
For those in a twelve-step program –
One of the key components (Step 2) is to come to the point where you
acknowledge that you …
Came to believe that
a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
But shouldn’t every Christian believe that God is greater than they are?
If that’s the case, then how come so many Christians have
Here’s the real issue – just who do you really
believe God is?
You may tell me that you believe that God is all powerful and
that He cares about you.
But it’s your actions that tell me what you really believe
Don’t be afraid to dig deep and examine what you TRULY
believe God is like.
11:8-12 Abraham and Sarah
:8 By faith Abraham
obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an
inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.
called – kaleo – to call; to call aloud, utter in a
loud voice; to call i.e. to name, by name
obeyed – hupakouo – to listen, to harken; of one who on
the knock at the door comes to listen who it is, (the duty of a porter); to
harken to a command; to obey, be obedient to, submit to
:8 not knowing where he was going
knowing – epistamai (“upon” + “to stand”) – to put one’s
attention on, to be versed in, to understand
This is kind of the mirror of the word for “substance” in verse 1 (hupostasis –
“under” + “to stand”). There the idea is
of what is under you when you stand, like a “foundation”, something of
Here the idea is of a solid understanding of something that you can “stand
Abraham didn’t “understand” where he was going. He didn’t know what he was getting into.
He wasn’t “well-versed” in the geography of the place.
But he went anyway because God called him to go. Here’s what God said:
NKJV) —1 Now the Lord had said
to Abram: “Get out of
your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you. 2 I will make you a great nation; I will bless
you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, And I will
curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
And with that Abraham packed up his family and headed …
out there somewhere.
I don’t believe he had a map.
I don’t think he had a guide.
I know he didn’t have GPS.
But if he did, his GPS might have sounded like this…
Wars – Yoda TomTomGPS
He just went.
Faith and Direction
We read last week:
(Hebrews 11:6 NKJV)
without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to
God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who
diligently seek Him.
If you want to live a life that pleases God, you will need to take steps of
faith from time to time, and that might mean that you will have to move without
knowing exactly what you’re doing.
In a way it’s like Luke Skywalker turning off his targeting computer when
he’s about to take the shot that blows up the Death Star.
When I was about eighteen, I was at a High School Summer Camp at Forest
Home when I sensed that God was calling me to be a Senior Pastor one day.
I was in a Baptist church at the time, so I took the route
that Baptist pastors take, going to college, and then on to seminary.
By the time I graduated from seminary, Deb and I sensed
that God was calling us to get involved in the Calvary Chapel Movement.
After seminary, I remember going into the prayer room at Calvary Chapel and
asking for prayer about my future as a pastor.
The guy I prayed with was Dave Rolph. Dave prayed for me, but he also suggested
that maybe all I needed to do was to go start a Bible study and plant a church off of it. That
scared me to death. I thought he was
crazy. That was around 1982.
We eventually settled down at Calvary Chapel of Anaheim, and after a couple
of years I was privileged to become one of Pastor Mark’s assistant pastors. I did that for eight years.
Sometime in early 1994 I began to feel like God was nudging me to do what I
had always sensed was my calling, to be a senior pastor of a church.
Back in 1994, and being in the Calvary Chapel movement, that meant starting
or “planting” a new church. The movement
was still pretty young and there weren’t any old
pastors getting ready to retire and pass their church to someone else. If you wanted to be a senior pastor, you had
to start a church.
As Deb and I began to consider God’s direction, Pastor Mark suggested that
we think about planting a church in the town I grew up in, Fullerton.
Keep in mind, though Pastor Mark was all for helping us start a church, the
board of elders were all for it, I was more than a little scared at what we
were thinking of doing. We had three
sons from 1 ˝ yrs. to 6 ˝ yrs. old. I
loved the “safety” of being in a fairly large church
and getting a paycheck every week.
As we began to pray about this, I got the notion that I wanted to wait
until we had thirty folks with us when we launched out and started the
church. I was thinking about King David
and his “thirty mighty men” and thought that would be a good number.
By September 1994 we were still in the early stages of planning our church
plant. There were maybe six adults that were committed to one day helping us
plant the church. Dave and Laurie thought it would just be the four of us in
our living room.
One of my jobs at Anaheim was teaching the Sunday evening service, and at
the time we were going through the book of Hebrews.
On Sunday evening September 4, 1994, I was teaching Hebrews 11:8.
As I studied, I couldn’t get past the “coincidence” of what this verse was
all about – the faith to step out, even when you didn’t know where you were
going or what you were doing. I felt
like God speaking to my heart that if I was going to be a part of a work that
He was going to do, I was going to have to exercise some faith.
So I gave my two-month notice to Pastor Mark the
next day so he would be able to line up someone to replace me, and on November
20, 1994 Calvary Chapel of Fullerton held its first service in the freezing
cold gymnasium of the Fullerton YMCA.
Oh, and we had about thirty families with us.
I’m not sharing this to make you think of me as the “hero”. I’m sharing because I want you to know that I
know how scary it is to step out in faith.
Yet if you want to be a part of what God is wanting to do, there’s a really good chance you will find yourself in places where
you have to take a step of faith.
NKJV) —5 Trust in the Lord
with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your
ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
If you are waiting until you have all the answers to your
questions, you may be leaning too much on your own understanding.
If you take a step of faith, God promises to direct you.
:9 By faith he dwelt in
the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with
Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise;
:10 for he waited for the
city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
dwelt – paroikeo – to dwell beside (one) or in one’s
neighborhood, to live near; in the NT, to be or dwell in a place as a stranger,
foreign country – allotrios –
belonging to another; foreign, strange, not of one’s own family, alien, an
promise – epaggelia – announcement; promise
heirs with – sugkleronomos – a fellow heir, a joint heir
:9 dwelt … as in a foreign country
Abraham lived in the land of Canaan as though he were a “foreigner”, an
In Israel, there’s a tourist stop called “Genesis Land”, where you get to
visit with Abraham and have dinner with him at his tent.
Abraham never had a permanent house, he lived in a tent.
Yet Abraham was the one who was promised by God to inherit all of that land.
How was he able to put up being treated like a “stranger”, even though he
belonged there more than anyone else?
Because of his faith.
He didn’t trust in what he “saw”, he trusted in what he was promised.
I imagine that more than one missionary family has clung to the lesson of
Our friends Jeff and Sonja Stewart are living as “foreigners” in France and
have just planted a new church.
I got this from Jeff yesterday…
Maybe you too feel a little “out of place” at times, living in a very pagan
The Stewarts are learning to love their neighbors and are beginning to see
lives transformed as they simply trust in the One they
:9 Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise
Abraham and his son and grandson all lived in tents as strangers in the
They too had been given a promise by God of one day inheriting the entire
land, though during their lives they owned very little of that land.
:10 he waited for the city which has foundations
he waited for –
– to receive from; to look for, expect
imperfect, middle, indicative
It’s in the “imperfect” tense, which gives a sense of continuous action in
He didn’t just wait for two hours one time.
He was continually waiting. He was
foundations – themelios – laid down as a foundation, the
foundation (of a building, wall, city)
Abraham was used to living in tents.
There is nothing “permanent” about tents.
They have no “foundation”.
Abraham was waiting for that “permanent” city.
:10 whose builder and maker is God
builder – technites – an artisan, craftsman, designer,
maker – demiourgos – one who works for the public; builder,
If you’ve been to Israel, you’ve seen the ruins of lots of ancient cities.
They were all built by people, not by God.
Abraham was looking for that city built by God.
He wasn’t looking for a new “palace” overlooking the Mediterranean. He was looking for heaven.
Make sure you keep your hope and expectation on the proper thing.
Our hope should be aimed at heaven.
:11 By faith Sarah
herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she
was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised.
:11 Sarah … received strength to conceive seed
strength – dunamis – strength, power, ability
to conceive – katabole – a throwing down; the depositing of
semen in the womb; a founding (laying down a foundation)
It is kind of interesting how many words our author has used that could be
translated “foundation” (three different Greek words).
In vs. 1 –
11:1 NKJV) Now faith is the substance of things
In vs. 10 –
11:10 NKJV) for he waited for the city which has foundations,
whose builder and maker is God.
And now here, the word “to conceive” could be translated, “to lay a
Your FAITH should be the foundation of your life.
It’s what your life should be built upon.
It’s what gives stability to your life.
she judged – hegeomai – to lead; to consider, deem, account,
faithful – pistos – trusty, faithful
:11 she bore a child when she was past the age
Sarah was ninety years old when she got pregnant with Isaac. She had never
been pregnant before. She didn’t have a
great “track record” to count on. All
she could count on was the promise of God.
:12 Therefore from one
man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky
in multitude—innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.
were born – gennao – of men who fathered children; to be
in multitude – plethos – a
multitude; a great number, of men or things
innumerable – anarithmetos – innumerable, countless
:12 from one man, and him as good as dead
as good as dead – nekroo – to make
dead, to put to death, slay; worn out; of an impotent old man; to deprive of
power, destroy the strength of.
The verb is a “perfect” tense, meaning that the action happened in the
past, but the results carried on into the present.
He was dead and was still dead.
Both Sarah and Abraham were WAY past the age to be having kids.
An older couple is lying in bed one morning, having just awakened from a
good night’s sleep. He takes her hand and she responds,
“Don’t touch me.” “Why not?” he asks. She answers back, “Because I’m dead.” The
husband says, “What are you talking about? We’re both lying here in bed
together and talking to one another.” She says, “No, I’m definitely dead.” He
insists, “You’re not dead. What in the world makes you think you’re dead?”
“Because I woke up this morning and nothing hurts.”
NLT) —19 And Abraham’s faith did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years
of age, he figured his body was as good as dead—and so was Sarah’s womb. 20 Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his
faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. 21 He was fully
convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises.
From this one man would come descendants as numerous as the stars or the
sand on the seashore.
The Jewish believers reading this would have considered Abraham to be their
“father”, just as all other Jews would.
Our writer is reminding them that their Father Abraham had moments that
looked pretty bleak and hopeless, with no descendants
Yet he believed.
Faith and the difficult
The readers are going through difficult times.
They too understood what it felt like to be a stranger in their own promised
They understood what it was like to have hopes that seem to never
And just like Abraham, they needed to respond with faith.
The apostle Paul went through many great difficulties, and while he was
facing the greatest dangers, his faith and hope in God allowed him to keep
This last video clip may not be completely historically accurate, but what
it has Paul saying to Luke in prison while the church as a
whole was going through great persecution certainly is in the spirit of
what we know.
Apostle of Christ – Write it down
In writing to the Corinthians, Paul talks about the great difficulties he
was going through and how he has learned to handle them by faith, by trusting
God and looking to the future God has for us.
(2 Corinthians 4:16–18
NLT) —16 That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our
spirits are being renewed every day. 17 For our
present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a
glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 18 So we don’t
look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that
cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we
cannot see will last forever.
What does “gazing on things that cannot be seen” sound
When your faith is in God, you can endure the difficult.