Posts Tagged Hebrews 11: 6

Sell Out

2 Chronicles 16: 9

For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.

Do you ever wonder what God is up to? What is he doing with His time? Now you know. He is scanning the whole earth looking for those he can support and strengthen. God wants to bless us. He wants to uphold us by His strong right arm but the truth is that we won’t let Him because we don’t allow ourselves to receive from Him. Some of us lack belief, others lack expectation. Still others of us don’t appreciate His goodness.

Being blessed is a process of teamwork. The first part is that we must be dedicated to God. Do you see that He scans the world looking for a heart He can work with? Those are important words and if we are not living in the blessing as fully as we think we should be, then this is the place for us to begin our analysis. We see that God wants to bless us. He wants to support us in all we do. He is just looking for someone who will cooperate with Him. His eyes constantly search for someone who is wholeheartedly in for Him. Is that you. Is your heart for God? Are you completely sold out to Him?

If you answered, “Yes,” then God is all in for you too. My next question is, “Will you allow yourself to be blessed?” Some people have difficulty receiving. It begins with believing that God wants to bless His people. Hebrews 11: 6 reads, “And 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 seek Him.” We have to believe that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. So, He is searching the earth for those whose hearts believe that He is and that He is a rewarder. You see, you are not sold out to God nor wholehearted towards Him if you don’t believe His word and even specifically this verse from Hebrews. He is looking for someone who will believe that God is for them in every way. He wants us to lean on the expectation of His strong support.

That brings up another point from today’s verse. God isn’t looking just to sprinkle you with blessing or just give you a small step up. He is a big God and wants to show Himself strong to you. He wants to “strongly support” your dreams and goals. That means that not only is He in your corner, but He is the loudest cheerleader you have. He wants to give you all He has. That ends up boiling down to all you will receive. He isn’t trying to be a subtle encourager. He wants to get loud and flex His muscles with strength.

I think if you will mediate on this verse, you will find more here than you have previously considered. I hope it blesses you from the top of your head to the bottoms of your feet. Get your heart fully committed to the Father who loves you and who wants to be your supporter. Be sold out to Him. Believe Him and let Him help you.

Rewarder

Hebrews 11: 6

He is a rewarder.

Who is a rewarder? God! Did you know that? So, what does He reward? Well, maybe He rewards our good works. Maybe rewards come from sowing good seed. Perhaps He rewards those who pray a lot. What do you think? For the answer let us again turn to the Amplified Version, “He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out].” Do you want to know why some Christians are doing better than others when God is no respecter of persons? My guess is they are seekers.

Would you agree with me that our Western form of Christianity has lost some of its zeal? Most of us don’t earnestly seek the Father. We sit on a pew on Sundays, maybe. We say a few prayers through the week but let us be honest. We are busy people and most of us just don’t set aside the time to diligently seek God. I remember when I was first filled with the Spirit. Goodness, I became zealous. I studied my Bible and prayed. I got together with other Christians to seek God. We all wanted more of God and were never satisfied. We continually sought more of Him. I guess you would call that earnest diligence. We were on fire for God.

Now, I’m busy working for God. It seems my calendar is always full. I don’t sit in my chair hour upon hour reading my Bible but as I read this scripture and listen to the heart of God, I think, “There is nothing better to do with my time.” I will just have to make seeking Him an absolute priority. You know, it is easy to fill your calendar. I can always find plenty of things which vie for my time but I am choosing today to put aside those things so that I can earnestly and diligently seek the Lord.

Today’s date is June 13, 2017. Will you pull out your journal and write this date in it along with this same decision, to seek the Lord with sincere devotion? Will you join me? Let’s make a 30 day commitment together and see where we are thirty days from now. Let’s see how our lives change in just thirty days. Email me, reply to this email or post a message. Let me know you are running with me and let’s encourage one another in this adventure.

No Fear Here

1 John 4: 18

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.

We have heard this verse often enough but I wonder how deeply we understand it. People don’t come to Christ because they are “afraid” of what they will have to give up. In other words, they are afraid of the punishment if they call themselves Christians and yet continue in their lifestyle. That is all backwards. God doesn’t call people to the fold in order to punish them. The weight of their sin is on them now. Jesus came and died that their sin might transfer to him. They are under the judgment of the law now. Christ came to set us all free (Galatians 5: 1).

God is love and there is no fear in love. There is no fear in God and no fear in those who are in God. You have been set free from fear and death. Moreover, you have been freed from the curse of the law. You needn’t have fear of punishment. Being in the house of God is to be in the house of liberty. Christ has freed us from the fear of judgment by shedding his blood for our sins. The question is no longer about punishment but rather reward.
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 seek Him” (Hebrews 11: 6). God is a rewarder of those who seek Him, not a punisher. He has saved you by His grace and Jesus’ blood in order to remove you from the bane of punishment and instead put you in the house of His good mercies so that He can pour out on you the rewards of His household. Can someone shout?

What we should learn and make known is that we haven’t given up a thing to follow Jesus. We have only gained. If we clean up our act a little bit, it is because we love God and want to be with Him. He does not require us to change in order to love us. However, I want good rewards and that is motivation, and much better motivation than punishment. “For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done” (Matthew 16:27). Give me some of that! I want to see Jesus in all his father’s glory and I want to feel good about standing with him. He will love me regardless but I want to clean up and I want to follow him and I know you are the same way.

As the revelation of God’s love blossoms in our hearts, this will be our only perception. We will have no fear of any kind much less the fear of retribution from our Father. When we understand a love so deep that it is sacrificial, then there is no way we will concern even one cell of our brains with the fear of what God will do to us. He sent Jesus to save, not condemn so there is therefore no longer fear. There is no fear in love, no fear in God.

Rewarder

Hebrews 11: 6

He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

People are so worried about God being a judge but the truth is that He is a rewarder. It is a perverted generation that calls God a harsh judge, a critical appraiser. He is the lover of our souls. If was for this reason that he sent Jesus here to die, because he loves us. John 3: 16 tells us so plainly that God sent Jesus so that we would be saved. What kind of logic extrapolates from this that He saved us just to subject us to harsh judgment. He already knew what He was getting when He sent Jesus. Had He not watched the decrepit nature and acts of humanity before he sent Jesus? 

It was precisely because God saw and knew how lost we were that He sent Jesus here to be our savior. Now He is able to just love us. God has always loved us, even when we were unlovely. He wants to pour out that love on us and He can because Jesus removed the sin that stood between us. God is the giver of good gifts. He is like a grandparent, He just gives us good things because He loves us. We don’t have to earn them. His love is all it takes to make us worthy. 

When Jesus comes back in all his glory he is bringing rewards, he is bringing prizes. “For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and, and then he will reward each person according to what they have doneMatthew 16: 27 (NIV). The judgment is that the light came into the world and people rejected the light (John 3: 19), but not you. You love the light and have made him the Lord of your life and now he has rewards for you. When he comes, he is bringing you presents.

Isn’t that just like a grandparent too? Grandma doesn’t ask if you’ve been good before she buys you that prize. And we know it too! We just run up to our grandparents and ask, “What did you bring me?” It never crossed our minds to ask ourselves if we were worthy? 

God is a rewarder and Jesus is bringing presents when he comes. They both just want to bless you, not judge you. Go crawl into Dad’s lap and receive His blessings.

Perfect Faith

Hebrews 12:2

Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith.

There is much talk and teaching about faith. Jesus talked about it a lot. One reason there is so much discussion about faith is because without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11: 6).  Another reason, I believe, is because it can be a hard concept to really get your hands on. 

Once we accept that we are to live by faith, the question becomes, “Just how do we do that?” You have, I am sure, heard sermons on how to increase your faith, how to walk in faith, and about every other facet of faith. As I read this verse recently, though, I saw it and faith in a whole new light. If Jesus is the author of faith and if he is the perfecter of faith then what am I so worried about? I came away with the perception that my faith is perfect now. I don’t have to work it up. I just turn to the master and he authors my faith. Sounds simple doesn’t it, easy even. And you know, maybe it is. I am finding that we complicate so many of the spiritual principles. When we take the Bible at face value and don’t try to twist it into something complex then it seems everything comes together for us. In this case, the case of faith, why am I trying to massage my faith into something functional if Jesus authored it in the first place? I mean, what can I do to improve upon something that Jesus has authored? And, if he perfected it then why does my faith need any help at all? No, the secret here seems to be in turning to the author for his insights. I can just see Jesus on a book signing tour being interviewed about this great book he has written. Perhaps one interviewer really digs into the chapter on faith. Well, who better to answer those questions than the author of the book?

So, here is my point. Perhaps faith doesn’t have to be so difficult to understand afterall. We have the author living within us. He has already created a perfect work within us. Just turn to him and allow him to show you how to operate that which is already perfect. Don’t worry any longer about making your faith something viable. That is not your job. Just let the master walk you through applying it. You don’t need any more of it than you have right now either. Jesus said a mustard seed’s worth is all you need and you’ve got that because he gave it to you. Relax and let Jesus be the author and perfecter of your faith.

Hearing Aide

Romans 10: 17

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

Faith is an important trait for every Christian. In fact, without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11: 6). That is a weighty statement. So, if it is important, even vital for us to have faith then you would expect the Father to provide a means by which we can obtain this mandatory commodity. Enter Romans 10: 17.  Here God is teaching us how to get faith.

Apparently faith comes from hearing. Okay, from hearing what? Many people teach that faith comes by hearing the Word of God or the Word of Christ. Absolutely there is interconnectedness between the Word of God and faith. However, there is an intermediary as this verse indicates. How do we recognize the truth of this? It is in the text of the verse. Think of it this way. If you wanted to convey that faith comes from hearing the Word, you would say exactly that but that is not what Paul wrote. He said faith comes from hearing, and then he said that hearing comes by the word of Christ. There are two steps here. So let’s take just the first phrase first and figure out what this hearing is that creates faith in us.

What I believe Paul is trying to convey to us is that faith comes through communing with God in our spirits. That takes no great logic leap. So, faith comes when we hear God speaking in our spirits. Let’s say that you have a financial need and during your quiet time with God you hear His leading or perhaps He shows you a scripture that pertains to finances. What happens to your faith? It skyrockets, right? Any time you hear God in your spirit or He speaks through scripture it brings great encouragement and renewed belief. That is what I believe Paul is trying to convey to us. It is not all that different from Isaiah 40: 31 which we looked at earlier in the week, which told us to be intertwined with God and we would soar on wings like eagles. When you hang out with God your faith just soars. It happens.

“But,” you say, “I don’t hear that well.” Right; God thought of that. Paul wrote, “[H]earing comes by the word of Christ.” If you have a Bible with references and look at the note for this phrase it will tell you that a closer translation is “hearing comes by the word concerning Christ.” What is the difference? It all has to do with John 14: 6, where “Jesus said …, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through me.’” The way to the Father is through Jesus. So, for us that means that the way for us to improve our ability to connect with the Father is through Jesus. We wish to hear God better so it is not only through the Word of God but also through the person of Jesus Christ that we can do that. Don’t miss hear me though. You cannot separate Jesus from his word. That is why the rendering that we gain faith through the word is not inaccurate. It is just incomplete. It is not through studying the Bible that we improve our relationship with the Father or our ability to hear Him but rather through the person of Jesus. Jesus leads us to the Father. His mission on earth was to reveal the Father to us and provide a way for us to be reconciled with Him. Therefore, when we need revelation or when we simply need a touch from the Father we go to Him through the person of Jesus. Jesus is our mediator. He has provided us with the means to connect with the Father in a deep way. Whatever we need, Jesus can lead us and teach us. 

The bottom line is that in order to have faith, you need to hear the voice of God. If you cannot hear the voice of God or your hearing just needs improving, Jesus is there to help you. The good news about what Jesus has done for us is the catapult to deep fellowship with him and with the Father because Jesus always points to the Father. If you look at Jesus’ earthly ministry you will see that is true. So, this is how I would restate today’s verse in order to make it more clear, “Faith comes from hearing God’s voice, and the ability to hear God’s voice comes through Jesus.” The good news about who Jesus is and what he has accomplished is an engraved invitation to the throne room of God where you can be very relaxed in the presence of your father. Good ears come through the good news and the good news is “the word concerning Christ.” Jesus is the way. His role as our high priest and as our mediator is to lead us into the Father’s presence so that we can easily hear the voice of our beloved Father. Fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith (Hebrews 12: 2) and tune your ears to God expecting to hear Him speak to you. Then your faith shall rise as upon eagles’ wings.