The PRISONER OF THE LORD
July 2011 – Volume V, No.7
A Church of God of Forrest City, AR Publication
P.O. Box 1001 Forrest City, AR 72336 870-633-2234
Written by Brother Robert Mitchell Edited by Pastor James Jennings
HEBREWS - A BOOK OF FAITH
This issue has a lot about faith because I believe you must have faith to be saved. Ephesians 2:8 (KJV)
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: When someone gives you a gift, do you say, "that's very nice- how much do I owe you?" No, the appropriate response in receiving a gift is to say, "thank you." Yet, how often do Christians, even after they have been given the gift of salvation, feel obligated to try to work their way to God? Because your salvation and your faith are gifts, you should respond with gratitude, praise, and joy. In Hebrews 11:1 (KJV) Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Webster's Dictionary defines "faith" as (1) confidence or trust in a person or thing. (2) belief that is not based on proof. (3) belief in God or in the doctrines of religion. (4) In truth and in deeds.
Two words describe faith - confidence and certainty. These two qualities need a secure beginning and ending point. The beginning point of faith is believing in God's character - he is who he says he is! The end point is believing in God's promises - he will do what he says he will do! When you believe that God will fulfill his promises even though you don't see those promising materializing, you demonstrate true faith. (St. John 20:24-31) John was a follower of Jesus Christ, and he was full of faith. John stated his purpose for writing the Gospel was to show that Jesus was the Son of God. He clearly presented the evidence for Jesus' claims. When evidence is presented in the courtroom, those who hear it must make a choice. Those who read the Gospel of John must make a choice - is Jesus Christ the Son of God or isn't he? You are the jury. The evidence has been clearly presented. You must decide. Read John's Gospel and believe!
The book of Hebrews tells us about the great heroes of faith. To the Jewish people, Moses was a great hero. He brought their ancestors, the Israelites, from Egyptian bondage to the Promised Land. The books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy will tell you about Moses' faith, what he had to go through, and how God stayed with him through it all. Next, we speak about Abraham, Hebrews 6:13-15. Abraham received great promises from God (Luke 1:55, 72-80, and Galatians 3:2-14). Many of the promises God made to Abraham seemed impossible to be realized, but Abraham trusted God. The promises to believers in God's Word also seem too incredible to believe, but we can trust God to keep all of his promises. Abraham followed God's leading from his homeland to an unknown territory which became the Jew's promised land. When we follow God, even before he makes all of his plans clear to us, we will never be disappointed.
Abraham showed faith in times of disappointment, trials, and testing. Because of Abraham's faith, God counted him righteous, and he called him his "friend." God accepts us because of our faith. The Bible tells us that there were two men that did not see death - #1 Elijah (II Kings 2nd chapter) and #2 Enoch (Hebrews 11:5). They did not see death because of their faith.
Hebrews 11:7 (KJV) By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. In Hebrews 11th chapter, it tells you about the faith of Isaac (verse 20), the faith of Jacob (verse 21), the faith of Joseph (verse 22), and about the faith of Rahab the harlot (verse 31), along with the faith of many others.
Now is the time to listen for the voice of God. Many times the Bible warns us not to harden our hearts. To harden your heart means to stubbornly set yourself against God so that you are no longer able to be accepted by him. Read Hebrews 3:8-13-15, Psalm 95:7-8, and Ephesians 4:22-29. Noah experienced rejection because he was different from his neighbors. God commanded him to build a huge boat (ark) in the middle of dry land, and although God's commandment could have seemed foolish, Noah obeyed. Noah's obedience made him appear strange to his neighbors. As you obey God, don't be surprised if others consider you different. Your obedience makes their disobedience stand out. Remember, if God tells you to do something, he will give you the necessary strength to carry out that task. Through faith we receive our strength from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Two of my favorite great men of the Bible (besides Jesus) are Job and Joseph. As you read the book of Job, Satan destroys all of Job's wealth, and he attempts to destroy his health. Satan destroys Job's sons and daughters. In all this, Job did not sin. His faith remained strong!
Next, Joseph was the younger of twelve sons, (Genesis 37th chapter) the favorite of his father Jacob, and he was hated by his brothers. He was sold into slavery, thrown into jail, falsely accused of adultery, and in all this suffering, Joseph never lost his faith in God. God stayed with him through it all! Hebrews 10:23 (KJV) Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) (24) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: (25) Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
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SCRIPTURE FOR THE MONTH
1 Peter 1:5 (KJV) Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
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