Faith chapter - Portrait Gallery/Hall of Fame of faith
vs. 1 - pictured as an athletic contest with the participant
preparing for it
In reality no Super Bowl, no Final Four, no World Series
can compare with this because each of us are contending
for the crown of immortality.
That is unless you are an unbeliever or profane person
who hoping against hope, hope that when you die that
is all there is.
It is a race which every person is required to run - it is
an arduous struggle - "the righteous scarcely are saved" -
or with difficulty - I Pet. 4:18
It is not a stroll, a saunter, nor a jog - it requires strenuous
It is a public spectacle - we are "compassed with so great
a cloud of witnesses"
The idea of an aerial company watching us from above
with sympathy awaiting the day when "they without
us should not be made perfect" - ch. 11:40b
The presence of spectators - those who have run the
race before us.
Apparently, the spirits of just men made perfect" are
aware of what is going on and take an interest in it - just
like attending a function where you have conquered - (like
attending the Final Four and once having played on a national championship team) an immense satisfaction from the accomplishment.
On one side you have the gallery of saints before the
Flood, the heroes of the Exodus, judges and prophets -
on the other a gallery of the apostles of the Christian
dispensation, confessors, martyrs, missionaries, and
our own departed friends.
They are a "great cloud" - numerous in multitude -
and are radiant with the brightness of immortality!
I think of Cecil Thompson and Howard Neely, a deaf
man - both basketball fans & church attendants - the best of
both worlds -
"let us lay aside every weight.....sin which does so easily
beset us" - especially the sin of apostasy - ch. 3:12
vs. 2-3 - The Masterpiece of the whole Gallery/Hall
THE PORTRAIT OF JESUS - THE AUTHOR AND
FINISHER/PERFECTER OF OUR FAITH!
"Looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of
Here is the portrait of the grandest in the gallery -
"Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith" -
my experience looking at the crowd - usually didn't
play well because I was distracted.
He is the Leader of the whole army of faith, whose
standard we follow, whose victory in life, in death
on the cross and His resurrection from the grave,
is the earnest of our own victory!
A WINNING TRADITION IF YOU PLEASE!
HE IS OUR MODEL!
"For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are
all things: to whom be glory for ever" - Rom. 11:36
"All things were made by Him; and without Him was
not anything made that was made. In Him was life"
"all things were created by Him and for Him: and He
is before all things and by Him all things consist"
Rev. 11:15-18 - (in reference to Lion of Tribe of
opening the book - this is the seventh seal -
this was in reference to the lesson on Melchizadek
in ch. 7 and the changing of the order of priest-
Rev. 19:16 - "And He hath on His vesture and on His
thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS AND
LORD OF LORDS"
Therefore: "Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and ye
perish from the way, when His wrath is
kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that
put their trust in Him." Psalm 2:12
v. 2 - "for the joy set before Him" - Christ did
it and attained it and He wants for you and
I the joy of sharing in this triumph.
The joy of attaining the end of my being, your being,
the perfection that God meant for you, for me, and
for which it is my duty, your duty to aspire!
v. 3 - "Consider Him" - consider Jesus
v. 4 - Here we have a transition from a race to combat.
Our trials have not yet reached the point of dying
in the good fight of faith as has been the case of
many down through history.
vs. 5-8 - the role of discipline
Others have suffered so much more than we - ch. 11:36-38
Learn to view afflictions as corrections of the Father's
heavenly love - they attract our soul towards God Himself,
as our only source of Rest, Strength and Joy - the unchastised
man is "illegitimate" - in the old days he was called a bastard!
Christ was made "perfect through sufferings" - ch. 2:10
v. 5 - "despise not the chastening of the Lord" - see God's
hand in it!
Do not become insubordinate and cross through cross
We must not "faint when ...rebuked of Him" - do not
become depressed, despondent or despairing - ADVERSITY
WILL MAKE YOU BETTER OR BITTER - (Joe B. Hall's
basketball calendar once upon a time)
We are to cooperate with God in carrying out their purpose -
they are the gymnastics of the spiritual life - (easier said than
done) - "my grace is sufficient for thee for my strength is
made perfect in weakness" - II Cor. 12:9
God loves not to smite but smites because He loves!
We benefited as children when corrected by our natural
parent - how much more for our spiritual and immortal
v. 12 - "that we might be partakers of His holiness" -
being educated for spending eternity with God!
v. 11 - The Fruit
Rom. 8:18*, 28*
v. 9 - "shall we not much rather be in subjection to
the Father of spirits and live?"
God is the original author of flesh as well as spirit!
v. 10 - "He for our profit, that we might be partakers
of His holiness"
We may trust to God to do always what is good for
us and in our best interests - remember "we know
that all things work together for good to them that
love God, to them who are the called according to
His purpose" -
We may also conclude that He will discipline till
the end be attained and if we are not disciplined - ponder
the latter part of v. 8.
v. 11 - "afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of
of righteousness unto them which are exercised
v. 12 - encourage one another as Bro. Wilson preached
v. 13 - A straight course - "the closest distance between
two points is a straight line" - so make a bee line
to God, fall on your knees and confess your sin,
"He is just to forgive and to cleanse us from all
unrighteousness" - I John 1:9
"Hands....knees...feet" - represent the powers of action,
motion and progression.
The whole church should advance with such unanimity
that the highway of holiness will be beaten bare and
no one will stumble therein, even the "lame".
Just don't run in the opposite direction - people need
the Lord, you do, I do.
ch. 4:16 ***
vs. 14-15 - a strong warning against dissensions and
"follow peace with all men" - hard to do - we need not
expect God to bless when grudges are held against one
another - it stunts spiritual growth - it is called a
"root of bitterness"
We must be pure as well as peaceable - "follow...
holiness without which no man will see the Lord"
We are to help the weak and guard the lame!
vs. 16-17 - the example of Esau
Esau permanently lost privileges which in his
profaneness he had scorned!
Were his tears only vexation and remorse? -
Esau is a warning - beware the effect that
in persistently slighting sacred privileges
they may be lost beyond recovery.
We are not to be a sensualist - common, secular
nor worldly, loving only the things of sense and
time with no appreciation of things spiritual or
Esau was such a man - he cared nothing for things
of the covenant - he bartered away his birthright
for pea soup and in this was "God-rejected" -
BEWARE OF PROFANITY LIKE ESAU'S!
BEWARE THAT YOU MAKE AS BAD A
BARGAIN AS ESAU DID!
He waded into that whirlpool of apostasy and
"wide is the gate and broad is the way that
leadeth unto destruction, and many there be
that go in thereat" - Matt. 7:13
vs. 18-21 - the contrast between
* fire, blackness, darkness, tempest
* terror, fear, quaking
* God unseen, unapproachable and terrible
in His wrath against sin
"they that heard entreated that the word
should not be spoken to them any more" - v. 19
It was a ministration of death and condemnation -
it pronounced curses upon the disobedient - it
was provisional and preparatory to bring them
to Christ, to
city of habitation.
vs. 22-24 - Christianity speaks of righteousness,
not ritual - the gospel laws are written on
No night, cloud nor storm gather around Mount
Righteousness shines on its towers and palaces and
mansions, gilding them with brightness & beauty!
"ye are come unto....
* the city of the Living God
* an innumerable company of angels
* the general assembly of the church of
the first born (enrolled in the album of Heaven)
* GOD, the Judge of all
* the spirits of just men made perfect" - (we one
*JESUS, the Mediator of the new covenant
* Jesus speaks of reconciliation and peace
* free approach to God
If you find yourself perplexed and disheartened
by what is going on in the world - think of the
countless multitudes who are on your side -
but especially, Remember Jesus who has said
"I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So
that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper,
and I will not fear what man shall do unto me"
No longer living a tent-life but living in a
"kingdom which cannot be shaken"
v. 25 - the final appeal - compare ch. 1:2
Our responsibility is to obey the voice of God -
think of the damage being done in the world
presently, with eternal repercussions, as men
listen to the thinker, Carl Sagan, the pseudo-
intellectual, Dr. Ruth, the political leader,
the leader of
Clinton, and his obsession with AIDS, the
newspaper editor, popular novelist, popular
playright, popular movie director, Barbara
Striesand, Rosie O'Donnell, ad nauseum!
Compare this list with the list in ch. 11
The Christian's life is to be one of devout
consecration with a befitting spirit of
"reverence and awe" - his manner and tone
is not to be flippant or frivolous but grave,
chastened and solemn.
Too often in churches the spirit of the above
list is exhibited and places of leadership are
often delegated to the worldly successful -
Compare I Cor. 1:26-29
How shall we escape if we turn away from
the full revelation made by the Son of God,
Jesus Christ, the Righteous!?
Haggai 2:6-7 Ezekiel 21:25-27
The final dissolution of the whole present
order of things to be succeeded by the kingdom
Isaiah 65:17 - 66:22 II Peter 3:7,10,13
v. 28 - " Wherefore receiving a kingdom that
cannot be shaken" the finished work of God -
the Divine masterpiece - everything connected
with it is stable - it is beyond the veil of this
visible scene and will survive the world's
This implies an actual share in the kingdom.
"let us have grace"
What a joy to live, as we do, among these abiding
realities - Christ's kingdom will stand for ever -
Dan. 2:44 - "a kingdom that shall never be destroyed"
v. 29 - God's nature has not changed - He is
still a consuming fire against evil, as He
declared Himself from Sinai.
"Little children, it is the last time" - I John 2:18a
God has done all for us that He can do - God's
character is not one of those things that can be
shaken - if the God who spoke at Sinai was just
and severe - the God who dwells at
If we scorn the present dispensation of grace -
"Today, if ye hear His voice, harden not your
hearts, etc", the Day of Judgment will still be
to us a day of terror - ch. 10:26