The Privileges of Faith – 2

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Scripture Text – Hebrews 10:19-25

Continuing from the first lesson, again the writer of Hebrews exhorts;

2) Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. Here “confession” is seen as equivalent to “profess,” for if we have drawn near to God, then surely the next logical step is to share the certainty of our hope with others. We can share our great expectation with confidence because He who promised is faithful. If those who hear us will act in faith as we have acted; they will experience the same blessing, for God is no respecter of persons. He will do as much for the man or woman next door as he has done for you; he will do as much for the janitor as he will do for the boss, and vice versa. We need not fear that God will let us down as his witnesses by showing favoritism to certain ones. He is faithful to keep his promise to anyone.

Another privilege believers may exercise is summarized in verse 24;

3) Let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works. The supportive love of Christians for one another is a powerful factor in maintaining spiritual vigor. It needs to be awakened in both ourselves and others. That does not envision finger-shaking and lecturing, but encouraging words and good example.

Two suggestions are made to bring this about. First: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some. Corporate worship is not an option for a Christian; it is a necessity. It certainly includes regular attendance at church meetings, but means more than that. It means a willingness to help struggling faith whenever Christians meet. The author had already noted the bad effects of neglecting this on the part of some (Hebrews 3:13). Perhaps those who were hardened felt themselves to be sufficient in themselves, needing no one’s help. One commentator suggests that if the real reasons for such separation were recorded, they might be quite easily recognizable in our modern churches today. If church services grow dull or boring they need renewal, not abandonment. The gathering of Christians should be an uplifting and exciting occasion. History has repeatedly shown that where this is neglected or permitted to dim, dullness and blandness soon follow.

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A second suggestion for spurring one another on is also given: Exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. The destruction of the temple and of the city of Jerusalem was just around the corner. The empire seethed with unrest and premonitions of disaster. These frightening prophecies were not viewed as signs of God’s inability to control his world, as many interpret similar events today. Rather, they were indications that God was working out his predicted purposes just as Jesus, the prophets and the apostles had foretold. No one could know the hour when “the Day” would begin, but its coming was certain and apparently imminent to them. The Lord himself had instructed his disciples: “Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.” – Luke 21:28.

It is now apparent as we look back over the centuries that it has been the will of God to have each generation feel that it is living in the very last days of civilization. Each century has found the church fearing the cataclysms of its own time as the last to come. Yet, persistently, each passing century has moved the world nearer the final end. This sense of imminence is God’s device to keep believers expectant and full of hope in the midst of the world’s darkness. In certain instances, evil becomes more subtle in our own day, and the difference between truth and error more difficult to detect, yet at other times, it is apparently blatant. The raucous voices of the age pour forth deceitful lies and society becomes permeated with false concepts widely viewed as truth. We too need to gather together to encourage each other and renew our hope by sturdy reaffirmations of the eternal truths of God’s Word.

We are a privileged people; privileged to draw near to the living God; privileged to speak out concerning our blessed hope; and privileged to stir one another up to love and good works. Every age of Christians has had to live in such a world, and today’s Christians are no exception. They must take care, therefore, that their Christian witness is real, practically expressed and based on a thorough knowledge of who they are in Christ. Let no one take this lightly, as John MacArthur and several other prominent ministers who have now passed have said:

“You are the only Bible some unbelievers will ever read, and your life is under scrutiny every day. What do others learn from you? Do they see an accurate picture of your God?”

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Adapted and modified excerpts from Ray C. Stedman, Hebrews, The IVP New Testament Commentary Series.
Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, NKJV © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.

About Roland Ledoux

Pastor of Oasis Bible Ministry, an outreach ministry of teaching, encouragement and intercessory prayer from the Holy Bible, the written Word of God and author of the ministry website, For The Love of God. He lives in Delta, Colorado with his beautiful wife of 50+ years and a beautiful yellow lab whom they affectionately call Bella.
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