February 12, 2012

Living a Cross-Centered Life: Hebrews Chapter 12

Lesson 12: Run the Race

Friends, we are drawing close to the end of our study.  We have one chapter left.  You have been absolutely amazing!  Thank you for your commitment and the hours and hours of study and commentary you have put in to make this study one of the best ever.  I pray that each one of you will feel called to join us for the next one.  Please be in prayer for what comes next.  I am praying.

As I close teaching and writing this chapter, I am overwhelmed by the magnificence of our God!!  Before you begin your lesson today, spend some  time praising God through His Names.  He is worthy!

El Elyon, Most High God

Sun of Righteousness

I Am

Rock

Strong Tower

Messiah

Prince of Peace

Lamb of God

Bread of Life

Light of the World

Sure Foundation

Cornerstone

Abba Father

All Consuming Fire

Sweet friends, God is all this and more!  He is Who He says He is.  He can and will do what He says He will do!  He is a faithful God.  My prayer is that we will encounter God in a fresh new way today as we open His Word this week!!

Let’s begin….

 

This Week’s Memory Verse: Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.  And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.  Hebrews 12:1-2(a) (NLT).

This Week’s Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of faith.  Thank You for the great men and women of the past who set a great example for me to follow.  When times get tough, and I struggle to see You in my circumstances, draw me back to You and to Your Word.  Lift my eyes to You, the One from whom my help comes.  Strengthen me, Lord, from the inside out and enable me through the power of Your Holy Spirit to run my race with endurance.  Give me the mind of Christ and protect me from the lies of the evil one who prowls around like a roaring lion seeking to discourage and derail me from the path You have for me.  When I want to give up, fill me with Your Hope and point me to Your Truth.  Lord, I thank You that with You nothing is impossible, and that I can do all things through You who strengthens me.  I ask this all in Jesus’ Name.  Amen.

Assignment: Read Hebrews Chapter Twelve

Homework Questions:

 1.  Read Hebrews 12:1-2. 

  • List the three pieces of advice you find in verses 1 and 2.
  • Read Romans 15:4.  What does it say?

 

2.  The author tells us to run the race with “endurance.”  

  • Define endurance.
  • How does 1 Corinthians 9:24-25 speak to Hebrews 12:1-2?

 

3.  What is the first step to enduring according to Hebrews 12:1?

  • What weighs you down in your spiritual journey?
  • What keeps you from “stripping” off these constraints?

 

4.  Read Hebrews 12:2.  What is the third and final step to running our race?

 

5.  Read Hebrews 12:5-6.

  • What are the author’s two instructions about discipline in verse 5?
  • Who does the Lord discipline?

 

6.  Read Hebrews 12:7-10.  Distinguish between how an earthly parent disciplines and how our heavenly Father disciplines.

  • List some ways that God disciplines.
  • Share a time in your life when you received God’s discipline.  How did you respond?  How has God used that time in your life to correct and refine you?

*If you would like to read more verses on discipline, read Proverbs 6:23, 12:1, 15:5, 15:32, Zechariah 13:9, Romans 5:3-5, and Revelation 3:19.  Share what they teach you about discipline.

 

7.  Read Hebrews 12:10-11.

  • What are the blessed results of God’s discipline?
  • What does the author mean when he says, “But afterward (after the discipline) there will be a peaceful harvest of righteousness for those trained by it?”
  • Why does the author use the word “trained?”

 

8.  Read Hebrews 12:12-13.  Read Isaiah 35:3-4.

The author of Hebrews sensed the spiritual weakness in his audience.  He felt a strong call to encourage them to renew their strength.  We find a similar metaphor in Isaiah 35:3-4.  Both the prophet Isaiah and the author of Hebrews are calling the body of believers to strengthen one another.  In strengthening the body, we strengthen others and ourselves.

  • What are some ways we can strengthen the body of Christ?
  • Read Isaiah 58: 10-12.  How does this verse relate to our discussion?
  • What are you doing to strengthen the body of Christ?  How has serving the body in this way strengthened you?

 

9.  Read Hebrews 12:13 again. 

  • Read Proverbs 4:25-27.  How does this passage reinforce the author’s words in Hebrews 12:13?
  • Practically, how do you do this?  List steps you are taking or will take to leave a level path. 

 

10.  Read Hebrews 12:15 and Deuteronomy 29:18-19 and Deuteronomy 29:20.

  • What do these verses tell you about bitterness and turning your heart away from God?
  • Read Ephesians 4:1-5.  Share what this passage speaks to you about what we are studying in this chapter.
  • Practically, how do we rid our heart of bitterness?

If you are in a place of bitterness, please tender your heart to the Lord and pray this prayer:

Heavenly Father, Your grace amazes me.  Thank You for dying on the cross for me when I was still a sinner.  Thank You for the pain, humiliation, and rejection that You endured for me.  Thak You that Your sacrifice was sufficient to forgive all my sin.  I know my unforgiving attitude toward _____________ grieves Your heart.  Forgive me for not extending grace and forgiveness the way You extended it to me.  You know how he or she has hurt me.  Father, I ask in the name of Your Son, Jesus, for the strength to forgive _______________.  Help ensure that no root of bitterness grows up in my heart.  I leave all my hurt and all my pain at the foot of the cross, and I ask You to begin your healing work in my heart and mind.   Take away my hurt and my selfish thoughts.  Fill me with thoughts that are pure, righteous, and praiseworthy.  I ask this in Jesus’ name.

 

11.  Read Hebrews 12:18-24.  What the writer of Hebrews wants his audience to know is that God offers two paths for us.  This same message is weaved throughout Scripture.

  • Read Deuteronomy 30:19, Joshua 24:15, and Matthew 7:24, 26.  What do you learn about choices?  (If you want to dig deeper and read more on the giving of the Law, read Exodus 19)
  • What image of God does Mt. Sinai leave with you?
  • Contrast this with the image of God Mt. Zion  leaves with you.
  • Read Galatians 4:24-26.  How does the author of Galatians describe the two mountains?
  • What are the blessings we find/receive in Mount Zion? (name as many as you can find in Hebrews 12:22-24)

 

12.  Read 2 Corinthians 1:22.  How has God identified us as His own?  What does it mean for our lives?

 

13.  Read Hebrews 12:25-29.

  • What is the warning in verse 25?
  • What is God’s promise in verse 26?
  • Read 1 Peter 3:10-13.  What does it say?  Read Revelation 21:1-7?  What is to come?

 

14.  The author speaks of the shakable and the unshakable things.

  • What are the shakable things?
  • What are the unshakable things?
  • To what are you more heavily anchored…the shakable?  the unshakable?
  • What are we called to do in response to this unshakable kingdom we will receive in the last two verses of Hebrews Chapter 12?

Blessings to you,

 

Comments

  1. Wendy… how funny… yet intimate is God?! Typically I don’t struggle with worrying about my finances. However, when fraud was found on my corporate credit card last night, I lost a lot of sleep. My mind was filled with fear and mistrust the moment I realized someone used my card without physically holding it and they somehow changed my security questions. I started this snowball effect of worry: what happens if they have our personal credit cards… what if it’s true identity theft… what if… what if…

    And then watching your video, God was melting away the things that hinder and so easily entangles. Right then you said, “Noelle, don’t worry about your finances!” I had to laugh. Only God! Yes. I am fixing my eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith!

    I am so excited for all we’ve learned and for all of the ways God opens the doors to apply this wisdom. I am praying for what your next study is because they are so rich and I always miss not being involved in them during our breaks.

    For any of you sisters who are in the same boat, I highly encourage you to check out Wendy’s past studies if you missed any. I’ve done her studies after the fact and I was still beyond blessed by the videos, homework and reading what others had posted.

    I love you Wendy! I love you girlfriends!

    • Virgie Watson says:

      Thank You Noelle for sharing….I thank God everyday for the trials that I have gone thu and that I will go thru God has moldedme thru each trial and He will continue to mold me into the servant that He wants me to be. I am seving my God in different areas that I never even imagine that I would be doing in my life…but thru His grace….God taking my hand and guiding me, I am able to reach out with the love of Jesus to help others.

      • Virgie Watson says:

        Thank You Wendy for your awesome Hebrews Bible studies….Mondays Im at my computer watching your video and reading instead of being of FB. And growing and learning about our Jesus…this study reminds me of Anne Graham Lotz “Give Me Jesus” every time I hear it I get God bumps. Love you Wendy Just Give Me Jesus – AnGeL Ministries – Anne Graham Lotz

    • How blessed is the intimacy of God. Thankyou for sharing, Noelle.

    • I just love reading this, Noelle. God’s Hand is so evident here because in my notes, I had another name where I had finances and at the last second, while I was teaching it live, God moved me to switch your name to finances!!! He knew what you needed to hear, sweet Noelle, and I love that He used me as a vessel to minister peace and trust to you!!!

      Thank you for sharing your story with us so we can all see how FAITHFUL our God is to hear the cry of our hearts and answer them. We just need to be available to hear…be in His Word…in fellowship…to give Him the opportunity to speak.

      Love you,

      Wendy

      • Cool – so very cool. I love it when God uses us to speak to each other! This made me smile.
        He IS SO INTIMATE! So close… so real!

      • This is such a beautiful, powerful, and enriching study and this video coupled with this story are just amazing gifts of a glimpse at the heart of God and our Lord Jesus! Thank you so much for your guidance through this study and thank you Noelle for sharing this story as follow up…so moving!

    • WOW! I just found Wendy’s teaching this morning! AWESOME! I can hardly wait for them next study to start! GOD BLESS YOU GIRLS!!!

      • I think I may be on a similar srutipial pilgrimage. Being honest and confronting personal faults(which means confessing sin, which certainly doesn’t appear beautiful), reaching out to the “uncomely” with an invitation to Christ, confronting long-term Christians who think they are judges instead of evangelists and stifle evangelistic progress … this stuff isn’t beautiful or pleasant, but is certainly necessary in the kingdom.Good post.wb

  2. I couldn’t wait to come here this morning and see the next lesson, It was so perfectly in line with what Wendy Pope taught this morning in Psalm7 and when you Wendy spoke of David I wondered if you and Wendy Poioe shared notes, She was talking about how God is / or should be our shield and you spoke of patiently waiting ( which is something I am not good with) I knew God was speaking to me this morning. Thank you Wendy for these studies. I can’t wait for your next one either.

    Yesterday I was in a bit of a down place, and feeling depressed and over whelmed , but when I went to God in prayer much later then sooner ( as well as have a little chocolate)I began to feel better. Then Wendy spoke of refocusing our attention from me to Jesus I had to stop and marval at God’s timing. This lesson was just what I needed. Your right Noelle – only God can know what we need sometimes. I love how He works ….Have a great week Wendy and everyone!

    • Don’t you just LOVE when God personally arranges our day so that we hear Him speak a clear message through more than one avenue? He cares about every detail of our lives and will intervene in the most personal of ways to be sure we hear His voice and know that He is working in our midst. So honored to be used with Wendy Pope in this way.

      Blessings,

      W

  3. Hi, girls–
    I have been going through this study rather quietly. I am going through so much at this time in my life I was wondering am I missing something God is trying to tell me. Or, like Job through patient waiting prayers I have to endure.
    In 2007, my then 14 y.o. daughter was diagnosed with a bone cancer and heavily metastatic. She was given 20% chance, well today now almost 5 years later she is still here. She has had 2 relapses and has a 5% chance. I pray.
    My 3rd child a son who is 23 has finished college but has no direction. He has in the past made bad decisions which limits his direction. He did take a Americorp position 3 days away in Miami, Florida (we live in Wisconsin). He has been having health issues, depression and girl difficulties. I pray constantly.
    Now my husband who just retired last November has been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
    We are waiting for surgery to give the full extent praying for a low staging number so cure is possible.
    Of course, all the finances which include my lovely daughter now 19 and a freshman in college who is limited by the amount of work she can do with her disability, my son who is living so far away with medical costs, assistance in supplementing his 1400/month income in a very expensive city, all the medical costs of the three on my husbands retired income. Luckily I still work.

    I listened to the video today wondering. Am I missing something God is trying to tell me? I try so hard to follow Jesus, to set examples of Christian faith and yet I wonder….

    I am praying, in constant prayer for all three –my husband, daughter and son. I have 2 other children whom I also pray for.

    I am patiently waiting in prayer relying on God and realizing all things are possible through Jesus.

    Susie
    Wisconsin

    • Praying for you Susie…

    • Janet Lutz says:

      Oh, Susie–how I completely identify with you in so many ways! Our circumstances parallel each other’s very closely. Isn’t our God amazing? Just at the moment we begin to wonder and question, in His perfect timing He lets us know that we are not alone! Dear sister in Christ, I will be praying for you and your famiily often. Blessings and peace, Janet

    • Susie,

      Trials are SO very difficult to understand. I pray that God will strengthen you to the depths of your inner being to walk this trial with great faith and trust. I pray that during this time He will reveal Himself to you in very real and personal ways to encourage you and show you that He hears the cry of your heart and is at work in your midst. I pray His peace, the peace that passes all understanding, will guard your heart and mind as you trust ALL your cirumstances to Him. I also ask for God the Great Provider and Great Healer to show up strong in your family’s life!!!

      Blessings,

      W

    • Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12
      Take comfot in the word of God and know that He is faithful! Praying for you and your family, Susie!

  4. Jude from PA says:

    I have not yet watched the video but i did start with the homework. I am having trouble with Q. 6 – how does God discipline. I don’t know. then I worry I am not being discipline hence an illegitimate child. but I know i am a child of God. I know where that worry thought comes from.

    Today I was praying for God’s love… I was not feeling particularly loved. then I was reading Rm. 5:5 “For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His Love.” (2nd part of Q6) I am going to make that a memory verse. How wonderful God.

    • Jude from PA says:

      I just listened to the first 10 mins. and this verse came to mind –

      Psalms 139: 23-24

      23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
      test me and know my anxious thoughts.
      24 Point out anything in me that offends you,
      and lead me along the path of everlasting life. (NLT)

      This has been my prayer since I found these verses.

    • God disciplines us in many ways, sweet friend. How I receive it most often is through His Word. He speaks a truth into my life that goes directly to a place in which I know I am not acting in accordance with His will. Oftentimes it is in my speech…how I speak to those I love. Sometimes it is my impatience. He also disciplines by not answering our prayers to bring us to a place of surrender. I think the prayer Jude writes from Psalm 139 is a wonderful way to seek the Lord’s heart on discipline and on any sin present in our lives.

      I love how He gave you a verse on love when you were feeling unloved. He does love you so every much and promises to never ever leave you or forsake you. Your name is written on the palm of His Hand. You are the apple of His eye. You are His child. Never forget these truths!!

      Blessings,

      Wendy

      • Jude from PA says:

        Wendy,

        I’m back on… YAY!

        You are the sweetest person I know. I loved being called Sweet Friend. Yes God does talk to me through his word for direction but I have not been aware of any other “discipline” or “punishment.” I’ve been through tough time personally, but I never saw that as discipline. It was not my fault. The discipline through the word makes sense to me.

        Thank you Wendy.

      • Thanks for this response Wendy, I was struggling with this question :). Because I’m undoing years of wrong teaching, I was thinking that God disciplines me with punishments, but He has disciplined me and IS disciplining me through His Word! And it doesn’t feel good, but it is so necessary and I thank God that He loves me enough to tell me when I’m wrong,

        • Jude, I love your heart 🙂

          Lakeisha, I hear you! Growing up in a family where there was very little grace, it’s easy for me to have the knee jerk reaction that God is hiding around the corner waiting to whack me for what I’ve done wrong. I think the love we see from the story of the prodigal son shows us what kind of an Abba Daddy we have. So, His discipline will be far different than what we may have experienced from our earthly parents. I also loved Wendy’s response.

          xoxo

    • Ok, I started to write an answer for number 6 and it came out waaaaaaay too long, so I put it into a blog post. I also included the song Runner by Twila Paris, because as I read the first few verses I just couldn’t get her song out of my head 🙂

      http://bit.ly/LoveGodsDiscipline

      • Thanks Heather, I commented on the link :)))). Wonderful insight!!!!!!

      • Heather, I loved your blog. Thank you for taking the time to share it with us! Love you!

      • Oh, this post on your blog is wonderful!! I tried to comment but for some reason it would not take it. I think since it is my first time to post on wordpress, I am doing something wrong with my name and password. I will have to try again.

        You are SO WISE girlfriend!!!

        Love you,

        W

  5. Thankyou, Wendy. I love sitting at my computer, sharing time with you in your kitchen, each Tuesday morning. (I am in Australia, so have to wait until Tuesdays to get your video.) I will miss you when the study is finished. I have never really been involved in a study like this in person or online. It has been so valuable. I am in the throes of the intense busyness of raising and homeschooling five children, so I am constantly praying that God would help me to merely remember what I read and learn, let alone study it in any depth. But, this study has been such a blessing to me, has encouraged me and brought me to my knees in humility before God so many times. Thanks again. And be blessed! I will be praying for you as you prepare your next study.

    • How precious the Lord has given you this study to center your heart on Him in the midst of raising and homeschooling five children. Thank you for sharing your story with us. It blesses me so to hear stories like yours and see how God is answering my prayers to use this study to draw women closer to His heart and give them a passion and love for His Word.

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  6. I am searching and praying and I know the promise God has when we search for Him with all our hearts He will be found. I totally want to live only for God and pray my family does the same. Thank-you for this wonderful bible study. I especially love the video parts.

  7. Hi ladies,
    I have been pondering the words “walk” with God from lesson 11 and now “run the race” this week. As I have been trying to understand what God is trying to teach me I started to think He never promised us a straight path for the walk or run but I was so wrong. Proverbs 3:3-5 and Proverbs 4: 11 both speak of God promise (truth) of a straight path as long as I walk or run with Him, I let Him lead. That is were God’s disciplines comes in for me. Sometimes it is a harsh discipline like a road block(turns me completely around) on something I really think I want or a curve when He gentle changes the direction I am going. The love I realize now is so mind blowing. I know with own kids how important discipline was both as toddlers and as teens, now I know how much my God loves me by continuing to make my path straight by loving on me with His rebukes or refining. My path will be straight in my whole walk with God as long as I am open to God and is loving discipline. I so love God’s promises!!!

    • What great verses to pull in. They teach the same truths. God’s Word never contradicts itself. It backs itself up over and over again!!!

      W

  8. One more week to go! ahhwww *sad face*. I have just been so blessed through this study, it got me through happy times and not-so-happy times. Will definately join you for the next study Wendy. Hope there’s an e-book of your book that I can buy, ordering for books from US down here is not an option, I ordered some from Proverbs31.org since December 9 and not received them yet. I hope you will automatically add us “old timers” to the bible study list. God bless you.

    • Also wanted to share my answer to number 12 with y’ll.

      God has set His seal of ownership on us and put His Spirit in our hearts. This means that we carry God with us wherever we go and we belong to Him. I feel confident and filled with peace & joy that I am God’s own but it also poses a challenge to me to also represent Christ in a way so that people who see me will see evidence of the Spirit of God in me.

      Best regards
      Olayinka.

    • Olayinka, remind me where you live? I’m wondering if I can get you the book (are you talking about Hidden Joy?) and I can send it. You can email me at noelleandryan@aol.com

    • You have been such a blessed additon to this study. Thank you for the time you have put in to encourage, edify and pray for your sisters in Christ. Thank you also for the amazing amount of time you put in to enhance this study with your research and great sharing.

      Love that you will be joining us for the next study. I am checking with my publisher about whether Hidden Joy is avialable in a downloadable version and will let you know what I hear.

      We will make sure you get a book, though. Just keep in touch with me about this.

      Blessings,

      W

  9. Wendy Thanks for the prayer in question 10! I wrote this prayer out, because I will continue to pray this prayer until God delivers me! I do believe it and I receive it and I don’t want to grieve the Holy Spirit by having bitterness in my life. And I want to be free from what I am feeling –
    ~ Thank you Wendy!!!!

  10. The thought of God’s discipline has been weighing heavy on my mind today. So many hurtful things have happened over the last few years/months with infertility and marriage difficulties, is God disciplining me? There is a myriad of mistakes I have made that certainly deserve that action even though I have repented. I know I struggle with looking around at non-believers and seeing them with big families and worldly success. That’s hard to understand sometimes and yet verse 6 is so enlightening as he only rebukes those he LOVES. Proverbs 12:1 actually made me laugh out loud – “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge but whoever hates correction is STUPID. I felt that last word screaming out to me!

    I know that in the end, I have come out stronger as recent challenges have forced me to my knees crying out for direction. Less reliance on me, more reliance on Him so perhaps it is his way of giving me direction. It was amazing to me to see Psalm 139: 23-24 come up in the comments as these are my life verses and God has continually used them to show me where I am going wrong.

    When I started this study I never anticipated the wonderful teaching of Hebrews or the messages that would be delivered to coincide with life’s challenges. Thank you Wendy for all that you have done! God bless

  11. This chapter was so applicable again-to endure, to look to Jesus as our ultimate example. I love the verse from Romans 15:4, verse 5 also about God being the God of patience and comfort. New memory verses!
    The harvest of righteousness being the fruit of the Spirit really spoke to me, and the question about what kind of path are we leaving was really convicting. It is easy to become bitter because of trials, but that can mess up our path as we are running our race and stumble those watching us also.

  12. Verse 15 really grabbed my heart. God is so rich in mercy. His grace is beyond our comprehension. He is able, willing and desirous to lavish us with that grace because of who we are in Jesus. However, how many times have I not availed myself to that grace?! And when I don’t, it’s a chain reaction. Inevitably bitterness takes root. It’s not full blown, so it doesn’t seem harmful. In fact, I don’t even realize I have bitterness in me. But it can spread like a wildfire! Abba, give me the wisdom and the unquenchable desire to constantly go to You alone for Your abundant grace and mercy! In Jesus’ Name!

    Wendy, thank you for this study! I love you!

  13. Charlotte Askew says:

    Wendy, I like Lakeisha printed the prayer in question 10. I have much work to do in that area. There are 2 people in my life that I often say I have forgiven, however, I can feel the resentment and anger rearing it’s ugly head way too often. I am making the copy, filling in the 2 names and putting it in my prayer jar to remain until I feel I have truly gave those feeling over to God and He has set me free from that entanglement.

    Thank you sweet friend for this and all the other amazing studies that have helped me and thousands of others reach higher in our daily walk with our Lord and Savior. You have gave me knowledge in areas that I so desperately needed clarification. May God richly bless you and yours.

    • You are so welcome, Charlotte. I am so grateful for the wisdom you have shared with us through the weeks. You have truly enriched the time we have spent together.

      Blessings

      Wendy

  14. Yanna Westmoreland says:

    God’s timing is perfect. As I was completing the study of chapter 12 my 21 year old daughter was running her first 1/2 marathon! She was self-motivated, and trained herself by researching on the internet how to prepare to run a marathon. 🙂 I have heard before runners really understand the parallel of running a race and endurance and hearing my daughter’s experience first hand gave me new insight as well. Also, my 19 year old son over the weekend had car problems on two consecutive days and that helped give insight to trials! I was able to share with him his reaction was just what God wants from us joy, and not letting circumstances get to us in a negative way. I have learned so much from this study Wendy and being able to share with my son and daughter was my idea of a heavenly reward now. 🙂 Sad but excited for chapter 13.

    • Yanna Westmoreland says:

      A post to my post. When my son had car troubles I was inwardly glad! As I explained to him it meant God was building up his character and with my son’s choice of how to respond he was becoming more Christlike. I got a smile.

      Wendy, you pronounced my name right! Congratulations! Thank you for encouraging me to put aside my to do list, I didn’t really want to do any of it anyway. lol

  15. Yanna Westmoreland says:

    I was reminded of a verse I memorized and pray often for me and for others: Isaiah 30:21 LORD, may ___________ walk be so close to you that “our ears will hear a voice behind us saying, “This is the way, walk in it” when we turn to the right or when we turn to the left.” This ensures our path is straight!!! Don’t you just love that verse.

  16. Charlotte Askew says:

    Research information for Chapter 12
    ‘Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses …’ (12:1)
    Here the writer presses home his point. Here is the reason why he included his list of heroes of faith. He has reminded his readers:
    •faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
    •visible things were made out of invisible things.
    •it was faith that gave Abel and Enoch access to God.
    •it was faith that operated in and motivated and enabled Noah.
    •Abraham believed where all the evidence was contrary.
    •by faith Moses chose obedience to God along with its disgrace and suffering.
    •by faith men and women of God did amazing things.
    •by faith men and women of God suffered and endured great opposition.

    The constant theme of the writer in all of this is: these people endured without obtaining the ultimate reality promised to them. The non-event of the promised reality did not make them give up their faith. As it is recorded in Hebrews 11:16: ‘… they were longing for a better country – a heavenly one.’ And Moses: ‘regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead for his reward’ (11:26).

    The whole of the letter so far has been a massive encouragement and exhortation not to give up, based on:
    •the superiority of God’s self-revelation in Christ (1:1-3).
    •the superiority of Christ over the angels (1:4-14).
    •the superiority of the message announced by Christ (2:1-4).
    •the superiority of Christ over Moses (3:1-6).
    •the superior rest of the people of God in Christ (4:1-10).
    • the superior priesthood of Christ (4:14-5:10; 7:1-9:28).
    •the superior tabernacle in which Christ ministers (9:1-28).
    •the superior covenant which Christ inaugurates (9:15).
    •the superior sacrifice of Christ (9:11-10:18).

    Through all of this the writer repeatedly issues encouragements, exhortations and warnings to his readers, as we have seen in previous studies. They have the ultimate focus of faith – that focus which the old believers knew barely a whisper of, barely the shadow of, yet they believed and did not give up.

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