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The online Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
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Thursday, October 1, 2020

River bike trail
Yesterday had a crisp Autumn feeling in the air although still short sleeve temps. A nice time for a late afternoon ride on the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail "littered" with falling leaves.

"A Consideration Of Faith's Commendation"

Message summary: We are commended on the same basis of those in the Bible, our faith.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for” (Hebrews 11:1,2).

Hebrews 11 is known as the "Faith Chapter" and contains a series of brief biographical sketches of men and women of faith. This is often referred to as the Hall of Fame of Biblical characters. The recurring expression in this well known chapter is the phrase “by faith” (found 22 times), which introduces each individual and the demonstration of their faith in God.

Throughout the book the writer of Hebrews typically uses what is known as the hortative voice, urging and encouraging his readers with the expression "let us" and including himself with his readers using the first person plural pronoun "we" or "us". His writing style seems as if he’s communicating to fellow believers in a small group setting and encouraging them on as a fellow believer. This is also my favorite style both as a preacher, writer and listener, not pointing a finger at the listener but speaking as though I am one among the listeners as a participant.

In this chapter the ancients are commended for their faith. Hebrews 11:3 makes a foundational faith statement, "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." Of course this foundational statement is under persistent and vicious attack by the secular modernist.

But the writer of Hebrews forthrightly states, "By faith we understand…" And praise be to God it is by faith that I do understand and believe this to be true though I certainly didn't see the process of creation with my own physical eyes! Just as Paul prayed for the Ephesian believers, “that the eyes of their hearts may be enlightened” (1:18) so too our faith is nurtured and our understanding increased when our spiritual vision is not limited to just what we see with the visible eye or what is proven through modern science.

In the section from verses 4-39 the pronouns change to "he" or "they" as the writer illustrates the faith the ancients were commended for. This section ends with this concluding phrase which again uses the word "commended": “These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised” (Hebrews 11:39).
In the very next verse the writer resumes his use of the 1st person plural with this powerful truth, “God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect” (11:40). The "us" includes us!

The context of the book indicates "something better" is the incarnate ministry of Jesus Christ!
  • Believers, in the Old Testament period, looked forward in faith to the promised future work of Christ.
  • Believers, since the New Testament period, look back in faith to the finished work of Christ.
Ultimately this is the basis for which we are all commended. Thanks be unto God!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man
Daily prayer: Father, the people of faith listed in Hebrews died without receiving all that You had promised, but they never lost their faith vision of heaven as a “better country – a heavenly one.” We take courage from these brave heroes of our faith who remained faithful to You in this life so that they could inherit a future eternal life with You. We who follow You many generations later trust Jesus’ promise that He returned to heaven to prepare a place for all who remain faithful. We anticipate with great joy the hour that we are joined with You in the clouds of glory for all of eternity. In Jesus mighty Name, Amen.

Pastor Steven Cole, in his sermon on Hebrews 11:1-3, comments on the phrase "by faith men of old gained approval (commendation)" providing two applications:

First, have you gained God’s approval by putting your trust in Christ alone as your only hope of heaven? As we saw in chapter 10, Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is the only basis for forgiveness of sins. Don’t hope in your good works, because all the good works in the world can never erase the debt of sin that you owe. Don’t hope in your faith, because faith in your faith can’t save you. Put your faith in Jesus Christ! He will save all that come to Him in faith.

Second, if you have trusted in Christ as Savior, live each day to seek His approval. “Without faith it is impossible to please Him” (Hebrews 11:6). While we should never be needlessly offensive toward people, our focus should not be in pleasing people, but on pleasing God, who examines our hearts (1Thessalonians 2:4).

Bring Your Bible Day - Students are encouraged to bring their Bibles to school today. Let's pray for those who do to be bold in Christ and very intentional in making time in their school schedule to spend time in God's Word. Ester likes a Christian Rock band called Skillet who posts this note about students taking their Bible to school, based on Corrie ten boom's smuggling Bibles in Germany:

In 1944, Corrie ten Boom and her family were arrested by the Nazis for harboring Jews in a secret closet in their house. She was taken along with her sister and father and family to concentration camps. She tells the story of her arrest, the brutality of the Nazis, and how her sister and father died in captivity in her book “The Hiding Place”. But she also tells us how they risked their lives smuggling a Bible into the concentration camp. Knowing that they would be brutally tortured and /or killed for such a trespass, I remember thinking that she must have a deeper appreciation of the Bible than I do. She was starved, worked nearly to death, and made to stand outside in the snow without shoes for hours at a time. But she wrote about how when they got into their cells and the guards were gone, they felt that they had an incredible treasure of infinite worth: The Bible. They would read Scriptures and thank God that He had been so good to them to allow them to have His written Word while they were suffering. WHAT?? You see, Corrie understood something that many of us take for granted. When we encounter the Bible we encounter God. His Word doesn’t just tell us about Him. His Word is Him. Words of hope, words of peace, words of love, words of life— but it is even more! The words of the Bible carry the very presence of God. I am starting to understand what Corrie understood. Without the Bible, we could not know who God is, what He loves, what He hates, and what He commands. I am thankful for His Word. I am thankful that He called me. I am proud to live for the One who died for me. All is of grace, and all that was made is for His glory.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"What Love, My God"   Video  CityAlight

Squash Harvest

Squash harvest on Kraybill Church Road
Yesterday afternoon our Amish neighbors were harvesting squash.
(Click on photo to enlarge)

Squash harvest on Kraybill Church Road
They have a variety of squash in the fields but mostly butternut, our favorite.

Squash harvest on Kraybill Church Road
Amazing how many squash can grow in one field!

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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